The shy boy who met the love of his life at the Norman School of Dancing
PUBLISHED: 10:47 22 October 2012
Today, John and Judy Parker, ex-Norman dancers in 1950s Norwich, are enjoying the good life on the other side of the world where they have just celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.
As the music played and the lights dimmed, boys and girls took to the dance floor in 1950s/60s Norwich – and many fell head over heels in love.
Our stories and pictures earlier in the year about the much-loved Norman School of Dancing on All Saints’ Green, where the first discos proved a magnet for teenagers, struck a real chord.
It resulted in a reunion for the dancers and their teachers and rekindled many friendships forged all those years ago. Several of you told how you had met the love of your life at the dear old Norman – and here is a love story from the other side of the world.
John and Judy Parker, who first met at the Norman back in December 1958, have just celebrated their golden wedding in New Zealand, where he worked as a police officer.
“Yes,” said John, “we met at the Norman near Surrey Street. I noticed this attractive 17 year old, dancing with her friend.
“My friend Alan and I split them up and it was obvious to me we had the same rhythm doing the jive,” he added.
In those days young John, was living at Sprowston and his new girlfriend, July Snelling, came from Stuart Road in the city.
“I walked her home, pushing my bicycle – it must have been about 10 in the evening when we stopped at the bottom of her street.
“We had chatted together for the whole time that we walked, and for a shy boy, this was a first. Suddenly, there was a shout from up the street calling her name. It was her mum calling her indoors.
“I asked if I could kiss her goodnight. I have been kissing her for the last 50 years,” said John.
They were married at Trowse Church in 1962 and had their reception at Colman’s Social Club on Cricket Ground Road.
John and Judy emigrated to New Zealand in 1971, with two small daughters, to start a new life in the tourist centre of the North Island in Rotorua.
“Known for its steaming geysers and hot pools, it was a complete contrast to life in Norwich,” explained John, who worked as an electrician before joining the police force to become Rotorua’s first Community Senior Constable.
“I enjoyed the job immensely. The shy Norfolk lad had found his confident side at last and thrived on it because I found that I do like people. By this time we had a third daughter.
“So three daughters and now five grandchildren – life is wonderful. “We retired to Tauranga and have lovely lakes, forests and warm seas all around us and take our winter holidays in exotic locations,” said John.