Sixty years ago they said I do – and now Norwich couple go back to same church to say it again

Frank and Barbara Watson celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary by renewing their vows.Pictur

Frank and Barbara Watson celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary by renewing their vows.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Frank and Brenda Watson celebrated their diamond wedding with a surprise recreation of the day they got married – organised by friends and family 60 years on.

Frank and Brenda Watson on their wedding day at St Augustine's Church, Norwich.

Frank and Brenda Watson on their wedding day at St Augustine's Church, Norwich. - Credit: Submitted

After a family lunch at the Artichoke pub, in Magdalen Road, Norwich, where the pair first met, they were astonished to find that Rev Canon John Minns was in on the plot.

He opened St Augustine's Church, where the couple wed in 1956, for a private blessing.

After conducting the service to renew their vows, Canon Minns said: 'I feel very privileged for Valerie, his daughter, to ask me to do the ceremony. I've known Frank especially for many years, also through the football.'

St Augustine's Church is particularly important to Mrs Watson as she was born across the road in Rose Yard, and her great uncles are commemorated on a First World War panel in the church.

Frank and Barbara Watson celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary by renewing their vows.Pictur

Frank and Barbara Watson celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary by renewing their vows.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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Family is the secret to success in love according to the still happy couple, but Mr Watson is honest about its difficulties.

'Those folk who have been married for 60 years and say they've never had an argument – tell them to come and see me. You've got to have an argument, for the making up afterwards.'

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After the ceremony, family and friends joined the couple to enjoy cake and champagne at the Leopard Pub, in Bull Close Road, the venue of the wedding reception 60 years ago.

But the surprises did not end there.

Frank and Barbara Watson celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary by renewing their vows. Pictu

Frank and Barbara Watson celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary by renewing their vows. Pictured with their family and friends.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A second wedding reception was held at The Cottage, in Thorpe St Andrew, complete with Mr Watson's best man, Eric Cork and two of the original bridesmaids.

The party was attended by 100 people, including the couple's seven grandchildren who are aged between 15 and 31.

Mr Watson, 86, who is now in a wheelchair, has supported Norwich City since 1935.

He started out as a sheet metal worker, finishing his working life as a gardener at Norwich Cathedral. He is a keen traveller and is particularly well versed on military history.

His son, Andrew, said: 'We were all heartbroken when we were told he was going to lose his leg about eight years ago, but... in terms of bringing them and the family together, it's been a good thing because we all had to rally round.

'When his leg came off, the first thing we did was jump on a plane and travelled through New York, Boston and to see Niagara Falls – to show them that he can still do whatever he wants'

Mrs Watson, 80, worked making shoes before starting a family, returning to work part-time for UG Plastics. Her family paid credit to her homemaking qualities.

Valerie Watson-Brown, her daughter, said: 'This is the lady who has kept us all together, through all of it.'

If you have story about a landmark anniversary, email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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