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Hethersett couple celebrate diamond wedding anniversary

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 June 2011

Audrey and Ray Christmas celebrate 60 years of marriage surrounded by friends at Brooklyn House Nursing Home in Attleborough

Audrey and Ray Christmas celebrate 60 years of marriage surrounded by friends at Brooklyn House Nursing Home in Attleborough

Archant © 2011

A Hethersett couple who met on a bus have celebrated 60 years together.

Ray Christmas said his wife’s good cooking had been the magic ingredient in their long and happy marriage – while Audrey said: “I suppose it is give and take. We like the same things and I think that makes a difference.”

The pair met just after the Second World War on a coach full of Norwich speedway supporters returning from seeing their team compete in a match in Birmingham.

An admirer decided to sit next to Audrey’s close friend, with whom she had travelled, forcing her to find another seat. She sat next to Ray and they ended up chatting all the way home, realising they had both once worked for Boulton and Paul at the same time.

Before they met, Ray, now 83, lived in Rockland St Mary, and had been employed at the Norwich-based company from the age of 16 constructing sectional timber buildings for use by the RAF during the war.

Following the war, he worked at the Start-rite shoe factory in Norwich but an industrial accident, which resulted in a back injury, ended his employment. His final job was at Briton Brush in Wymondham before worsening eyesight ended his working life in 1956.

Audrey, now 87, from Poringland, worked as a maid in Framingham Pigot and then at the Caley’s chocolate factory in Norwich where she would melt chocolate in the “hot room” at temperatures above 30C (86F).

Following bomb damage to the factory, she briefly took a role at Harmer’s trouser factory, before beginning work at Boulton and Paul at the age of 18, where she was in charge of handing out the weekly wage slips – including those belonging to her future husband. She would later work at a munitions factory in Letchworth and at Colman’s Mustard.

The couple married on June 9, 1951, at All Saints’ Church, Poringland, and lived with Mr Christmas’ parents for a few months before moving to Hethel.

In 1956 they built a bungalow in Hethersett where they enjoyed many hobbies together, including gardening, cycling, coach trips and sailing on the Norfolk broads.

The happy couple, who now live at Brooklyn House Nursing Home in Attleborough, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday, surrounded by friends and their former bridesmaids Ina Bullen and June Smith.

Attleborough mayor Karen Pettitt also presented them with a congratulatory bouquet of flowers and a card from the Queen.

Are you celebrating a diamond anniversary? Call David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk.

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