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Couple to celebrate second royal wedding a the Beehive pub

Wolf Witham and Sonja Kerridge met at a Charles and Diana street party in 1981. Now daughter Alex runs the Beehive pub in Norwich and will be holding a Royal Wedding celebration of her own.; Photo: Bill Smith

Wolf Witham and Sonja Kerridge met at a Charles and Diana street party in 1981. Now daughter Alex runs the Beehive pub in Norwich and will be holding a Royal Wedding celebration of her own.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

A couple who met at a royal wedding street party in Norwich in 1981 are likely to be celebrating the nuptials of William and Kate at the same pub.

Sonja Kerridge and Wolfe Witham met at a party, organised by the Beehive pub on Leopold Road, off Newmarket Road, to celebrate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

Ms Kerridge’s daughter, Alex, who is now the landlady of the Beehive, is holding a special band event at the pub on April 29 to both mark the royal occasion and to celebrate her three-year anniversary at the helm.

Ms Kerridge, 58, who is now a surgery practice manager, took her seven-year-old daughter Alex to the 1981 street party, but left early to try to see the Tall Ships at Great Yarmouth. She returned to the party later and met Mr Witham, now 61, outside the pub.

The couple now live on Melrose Road, not far from the Beehive.

“There were lots of people there,” she said.

“The landlord at the time had the road closed and there was a fire engine at the end of the road. There were stalls and lots of people waving flags.

“I also met my partner there at the party. He was doing a performance of Three Men in a Boat. Everyone was having a great time. In those days the pubs didn’t open all day. There were lots of people who used to go in the pub. There were lots of the regulars at the street party.”

People from a nearby home for the disabled were also at the party.

Mr Witham, who set up a popular brewery-pub at the Reindeer on Dereham Road in 1987 and went on to found the Wolf Brewery, said: “They closed off the street and the crossroads. There was a lot of money raised for the Jessie Pidgeon Home [on Middleton’s Lane].

“The pub used to do a lot of money-raising for charity. There were a lot of nurses there from the home around the corner. It was a fun day. It was a very traditional day. It was just a big community thing. I’m sure it was started by the landlord who thought we should do something because people were doing things up and down the country.”

Everyone from the community was there including the local policeman. “We didn’t have all the problems we have now with health and safety. Everyone got together and had a good time and raised a bit of money.

“It will be nice to do things at the pub this year. We will probably go up there.” Alex Kerridge said: “I was seven at the street party in 1981. I can visualise it, but I can’t really remember it. We are definitely going to celebrate it. We will be showing the wedding.

“I know some people aren’t really into the wedding so it will also be a party to celebrate my three years at the pub.”

Do you recognise yourself in one of the pictures printed here? Contact Annabelle Dickson on 01603 772426 or email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk.

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