Taverham couple who became close friends of Bernard Matthews celebrate 70 years of happy marriage

Lenny and Joan Temple celebrate their platinum wedding.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Lenny and Joan Temple celebrate their platinum wedding.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

He was Bernard Matthews's first employee and right-hand man, while she was a stay-at-home mother caring for their two children.

From left, Bernard Matthews, Lenny Temple and Joan Temple, at Lenny's retirement.

From left, Bernard Matthews, Lenny Temple and Joan Temple, at Lenny's retirement. - Credit: Archant

Lenny and Joan Temple, from Taverham, have shared many experiences together since first meeting at a dinner dance in Drayton in 1941.

But today, they are marking one of the biggest milestones in their lives as they celebrate 70 years of marriage.

The couple were both born in Norwich, but took very different career paths from a young age.

While Mrs Temple, 90, worked as a secretary at Harmers Clothing Factory, Mr Temple, 91, sought employment in the coalmines.

Lenny and Joan Temple celebrate their platinum wedding. Pictured on their wedding day. Picture: supp

Lenny and Joan Temple celebrate their platinum wedding. Pictured on their wedding day. Picture: supplied - Credit: Archant


You may also want to watch:


But it was just before he joined the Royal Horse Artillery, aged 16, that the pair met, and five years later they were married.

Mrs Temple said she was won over by her husband's persistence.

Most Read

'He would not take no for an answer,' she said. 'He was everywhere and even when he was driving lorries [for R G Carter] he would always beep at me.'

It was in the early 1950s that the couple became friends with the late Bernard Matthews, who was living opposite Mrs Temple's mum on Fakenham Road.

His company was still in its infancy at that point, and Mr Temple was hired after joining his mother-in-law to help pluck turkeys for Christmas.

'Lenny and Bernard were very good friends,' Mrs Temple said. 'He [Mr Matthews] always said he would not have made so much money if it was not for him.'

Mr Temple was even invited to view the company's future headquarters along with Mr Matthews before he purchased it.

'When Bernard heard about Great Witchingham Hall, he said [to Mr Temple], 'Come and look at it with me', and he bought it there and then,' Mrs Temple said.

The estate, and a further 36 acres of land, cost £3,000 to purchase.

One of Mr Temple's many responsibilities within the company was to help maintain the building and organise the staff who killed the turkeys.

He became Mr Matthews's right-hand man over the following years and was trusted for his ability to give an honest opinion.

Despite often working more than 12-hour days, Mr Temple said he loved his job.

But he retired in 1985 at the age of 60 to spend more time with his wife, who had raised their two children.

In their retirement, the couple have enjoyed a range of hobbies including bowls, badminton and dancing.

While Mr Temple said the secret to a long-lasting marriage was 'good food', Mrs Temple believed it was about their ability to get on. 'We have always got on well,' she said. 'And have always done things together.'

They now have five grandchildren and five great grandchildren, aged between 20 and four.

Daughter Stephanie Blincow said: 'They are brilliant parents.'

Are you celebrating a milestone anniversary? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus