Yarmouth couple celebrate sixty years of love and laughter

Jennifer and Derrick Brown who have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.Picture: James Bass

Jennifer and Derrick Brown who have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

It is a time which signifies the start of something new, and for Derrick and Jennifer Brown Easter time was just that, when they met at Great Yarmouth's visiting fair in 1955.

Jennifer and Derrick Brown who have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.Picture: James Bass

Jennifer and Derrick Brown who have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

Love blossomed when Derrick, then 22 and fresh out of the army, jumped onto the back of Jennifer's cart on the Noah's Ark ride, giving her a fright.

And looking back over their marriage, as they celebrate their 60th anniversary, Derrick joked: 'I've been trying to sell her off ever since!'

Derrick and Jennifer had both lived on Salisbury Road growing up, Jennifer with her grandmother who ran the boarding house at number 83.

And since they both used to enjoy dancing at Wellington Pier, and roller skating at the rink on the seafront, they would sometimes walk together on their way.

Derrick was particularly good at skating. 'I'd go all over the country with roller hockey,' he said. 'And I was in the show.'

But their relationship truly began that night at the fair, and one year later - in 1956 - they were married.

Most Read

Derrick had served in Korea with the Army for two years, and when he met Jennifer he was working for the British Sugar Corporation in Cantley. Jennifer, on the other hand, was working in the Erie Resistor factory.

'We got married a year after we met,' Jennifer, now 80, said.

'She kept telling me her friends had just got engaged and I was trapped!' said Derrick, 83.

The couple had a 'brilliant' wedding at St Peter's church, and their reception at the Bridge Hotel.

But just months after, Derrick was admitted to hospital in Ipswich with tuberculosis, where he would stay for a year.

In between visits, Jennifer continued to work and save money for a bungalow when he was released. After Derrick recovered, the pair stayed with Jennifer's grandma until they had the money to get their own little place, in Romany Way, Caister.

It was here that they began their family, welcoming Tracey in 1963, and then Amanda in 1966. The young family moved to Kipling Close, to a house big enough for them.

'It was the best time of our lives there,' said Jennifer. 'In fact, our neighbours moved with us, all the children could play together in the cul-de-sac and we would have parties and barbecues together.'

As the children grew up and flew the nest, Derrick and Jennifer moved a couple more times before settling in a bungalow in Yarmouth.

Derrick left British Sugar in 1984, and went to work with a friend as Browns the Builders, maintaining council properties around Acle.

'Everyone knew us,' he said. 'If we wanted a cup of tea we'd just pop our heads in and say 'is the kettle on?''

He worked there for 28 years before retiring at 62, due to a bad back. Jennifer also had a change of career before retiring, swapping to retail work at various shops in the town.

In their retirement, the couple have enjoyed spending time together, but faced challenges when Derrick was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2002. He spent some time in James Paget Hospital before being transferred to St Mark's in London.

'Everyone gave him up for dead,' said Jennifer.

'But I thought I'd try and prove them wrong,' Derrick added.

He was in hospital for almost two years, with Jennifer making the trip to London on the train three times a week to visit.

'I'd be dead without her,' Derrick said.

Now, the pair, who have eight grandchildren, still visit Majorca twice a year, enjoying visiting their regular bars where everyone knows them, and family who live there.

'They call Derrick John Travolta because he always has a dance,' Jennifer said.

The duo had a party on Saturday, Janaury 16 - two days after their anniversary - at the Conservative Club, with lots of friends and family.

'I danced for six hours non-stop!' said Derrick.

Jennifer added: 'I just want to thank all our guests, family and friends for our flowers and gifts. As well as my daughter, Amanda, for all her help, the Conservative Club for the catering, Lisa Marie for the entertainment and Marks Pantry for the cakes.'