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Couple have 65 reasons to celebrate

PUBLISHED: 13:10 20 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:52 02 July 2010

Sam Emanuel

A Norwich couple who wed during the final months of the Second World War will celebrate 65 years of marriage later this month.

A Norwich couple who wed during the final months of the Second World War will celebrate 65 years of marriage later this month.

Harry and Eileen Cottrell tied the knot at St Cuthbert's Church in Wroxham Road, Sprowston, on April 21, 1945.

Mrs Cottrell, 86, said: “It was a nice day, but it was the end part of the war and you couldn't get coupons to get a wedding outfit. I ended up with a second-hand dress. He managed to get a cake made, but I think it was black market.”

At the time she lived opposite the church in a terraced house, but still ordered a bicycle taxi.

She said that they had met when visiting a mutual friend and that the romance began to grow, gradually, from there.

“I thought he was alright,” she said of their first meeting.

Before retiring, Mr Cottrell was a builder and his wife worked in department stores in the city, including a stint operating the lift at Garland's in Norwich. After that shop burned down she went on to work in the laundry department at Jarrold's.

Mr and Mrs Cottrell, who have lived in their house on Sotherton Road in Norwich for more than 50 years, have shared a life-long passion for bingo and still go twice a week to play on Aylsham Road.

Although Mr Cottrell has now lost most of his sight, he has memorised a set of numbers and can play in his head my mentally checking them off as they are called. Mrs Cottrell said that her husband has got a “great memory”.

She claimed that their marriage had survived for so long because they had learned to give and take, but Mr Cottrell, 87, said: “I have to put up with her and she has to put up with me, and that's all it boils down to.”

The couple will be having an anniversary party with friends and family on Thursday at the local community centre, as well as a joint gathering on Saturday with their daughter Margaret Whiting, who is also celebrating her 29th anniversary that week.

Mrs Whiting and her family live in France and are expected to drive to Norfolk after their flight was unexpectedly grounded by last week's volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Mr and Mrs Cottrell's other daughter, Christine, will also attend.

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