Sheringham’s golden couple share royal wedding date

Doreen and John Kelly's big day on April 29 1961 involved a lot less pomp, circumstance and cash than Friday's royal wedding - but enough love and goodwill to last them for a happy half century.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's London bash will cost many millions of pounds, involve a state coach, an haute-cuisine reception at Buckingham Palace, and a bridal gown created by a top designer.

The Kellys, from Clover Drive, Sheringham, tied the knot in Dagenham on a shoestring budget, travelled in a Ford Cortina, held a chicken dinner reception at a relative's home - with a bottle of Heinz Salad Cream on the table - and the bride's and bridesmaids' dresses were made by a sister who worked as a machinist making car seats.

Mr and Mrs Kelly will be among the millions watching the royal wedding on TV before they join family and friends to celebrate their own special day.

'We wish them well - they seem like a nice young couple,' said Mr Kelly, 72, who made tractor engines for 38 years with Ford at Basildon.

'I would advise them to listen to one another, talk to one another, give and take, and don't worry about arguing - get it off your chest. It's nice when you make up afterwards!' added his wife, 71.

The couple moved to Sheringham from their native Essex five years ago after spending all their married lives visiting Norfolk on holidays and trips. They met in 1956, in their teens, and married after Mr Kelly had finished his National Service in the army. He used a month's leave pay of �28 to buy the engagement and wedding rings.

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'Everybody mucked in and helped with our wedding,' Mrs Kelly remembered. 'There wasn't much money about then and we did as much as we could ourselves.'

Her sister Eileen ran up four bridesmaids' dresses in pastel shades and the bride's white taffeta wedding dress, which was knee-length in keeping with early 1960s' fashions.

Mrs Kelly remembers they were all up late on the eve of the wedding making buttonholes, her floral hair circlet and bouquet.

And after the reception, in the home of one of Mr Kelly's sisters, guests danced to records in the garden.

The newly weds, who began their married lives in a flat in Dagenham, were back at work on Monday morning, saving hard for a deposit on the �2,800 home which they bought some three years later.

They have two daughters and three grandsons, one of whom is due to marry in September and Mrs Kelly plans to give his new wife her engagement ring, in the shape of two hearts with an arrow through them; the symbol with which the Kellys signed letters to each other during Mr Kelly's National Service in Germany.

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