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'It was love at first sight' How a chance meeting of an RAF serviceman and N&N nurse at the Regent in 1955 led to sixty years of marriage

PUBLISHED: 09:58 25 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:08 25 November 2016

Ruth and Terry Brock in their younger days and celebrating their diamond wedding Picture: Brock Family

Ruth and Terry Brock in their younger days and celebrating their diamond wedding Picture: Brock Family

Archant

This story starts in Norwich of 1955. It was Christmas time and young Terry Brock was home on leave from his RAF camp in Germany.

The story of the Regent Cinema

The grand Regent cinema opened on Prince of Wales Road in 1923 with The Prisoner of Zenda.

It had taken 17 months to build.

It was a palace of dreams equipped for variety acts with a stage, dressings and orchestra pit.

A goldfish pool in the foyer was a sight to behold for the cinema-goers.

This was a sparkling jewel in the Norwich entertainment scene.

Many of the ornate features disappeared when ABC took over in 1961 and smaller auditoria were created.

It was taken over by Cannon in 1986 and then closed as a cinema in 2000.

It re-opened as Mercy – continuing to play its part in the entertainment scene.

Talking of the old ABC... who remembers the trendy in-house cafeteria The Grillette?

When it opened in the 60s it boasted an “entirely new form of cooking.”

Remember the days when you were shown to your seat at the cinema by an usherette with a torch?

He decided to go to the cinema one night and wondered down Prince of Wales Road – a little more peaceful in those days – and ended up at the Regent which became the ABC.

“As the cinema was fairly full, I was shown to a seat next to a girl who seemed to be on her own,” said Terry.

When the lights went up they started to chat and introduced themselves. Her name was Pat.

The grand interior of the former Regent Cinema in Norwich in 1961 Picture: ArchantThe grand interior of the former Regent Cinema in Norwich in 1961 Picture: Archant

She lived at Mile Cross and Terry walked her home after the film finished.

“Pat asked if I would like to pop round for coffee the next morning and I said I’d love to.

“The next day she let me in and asked me to keep her friend in the lounge company while she made coffee. Her name was Ruth,” said Terry.

It was love at first sight.

But Terry was with the RAF in Germany and had to return to his duties.

He wrote to Ruth and came home twice the following year.

On the second visit, they went to the pictures to see The Eddie Duchin Story with Tyrone Power... and got engaged on the way home.

They said it wouldn’t last... how wrong they were.

“We were married in December 1956 exactly one year after we first met.

We had only seen each other a few times,” he said.

“People said it wouldn’t last. It did!” he added.

So Terry, now aged 81, and Ruth, 79, are about to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary by travelling to Spain... to enjoy the honeymoon they never had all those years ago.

They went on to have four sons: Roy, Kevin, Ian and Barry, along with eight grandchildren and a great grandson.

Ruth worked on the maternity wards at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (old and new) as a nursing auxiliary for 34 years and loved her job, while Terry had several jobs after leaving the RAF which included spending 15 years as a milkman and 15 years working for a housing group.

“The prophets of doom were predicting our marriage would be short-lived. We have proved them wrong,” said Terry.

Congratulations Terry and Ruth.

One diamond couple.

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