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Hellesdon couple celebrate 75 years of happy marriage

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:26 03 January 2017

Joe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Joe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A wartime romance has led to a long and happy marriage for Hellesdon couple Joe and Eileen Harvey, who are today celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary.

Joe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Pictured on their wedding day in 1942.
Picture: suppliedJoe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Pictured on their wedding day in 1942. Picture: supplied

The husband and wife, from Neylond Crescent, first met when they were just 17, and they married when they were 19 at Hethersett Methodist Church on January 3, 1942.

Today, aged 94, they are marking their landmark anniversary with a special surprise organised by their family.

“We met when we were 17, were engaged at 18, and married at 19. Our families said ‘why don’t you wait until the war is over’, but we didn’t want to wait,” said Mrs Harvey, who is originally from Hethersett.

When asked how they first met, she said: “I went to a friend’s house for tea and Joe was sitting there at the table having a cup of tea. He kept looking at me and I kept looking at him.”

Joe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYJoe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mr Harvey said: “I thought Eileen looked nice and I thought I would like to take her out.”

Their friendship blossomed and Mr Harvey, who was serving in the RAF and stationed at RAF Coltishall at the time, took his future bride to the cinema in Norwich for their first date.

“He took me to the pictures to see Road To Morocco at the Haymarket Cinema,” Mrs Harvey said.

A medical problem prevented Mr Harvey being deployed in the Second World War, and the couple moved to Scotland where Mr Harvey was sent to work in air-sea rescue, and then to the Isle of Man.

Joe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Eileen pictured in 1940, the year she met Joe.
Picture: suppliedJoe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Eileen pictured in 1940, the year she met Joe. Picture: supplied

When they returned to Norfolk they lived in Hethersett where they brought up their children, Sandra, 71, and Stephen, 65.

Mr Harvey, who is originally from Botesdale, in Suffolk, worked at a chemist in Magdalen Street in Norwich for 40 years before he retired and Mrs Harvey worked at Norwich Union.

The couple, who have five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, also enjoyed travelling to places including Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

Mr and Mrs Harvey have lived in Hellesdon for about 50 years and helped with the luncheon club at Meadow Way Chapel in Hellesdon for a number of years.

Joe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Joe pictured in his RAF uniform in 1940, the year he met Eileen.
Picture: suppliedJoe and Eileen Harvey celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Joe pictured in his RAF uniform in 1940, the year he met Eileen. Picture: supplied

Mrs Harvey said their favourite times over the years have been celebrating anniversaries and family birthdays.

When asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage, Mr Harvey said: “There’s no secret. We just get along and if we have a disagreement we put it right.”

Mrs Harvey added: “We have got the same temperament and we do things together, and we like the same things.”

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