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Platinum day delight for long-wed couple

PUBLISHED: 15:22 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 14:35 07 July 2010

It's a marriage landmark few couples reach.

But Billy and Gladys Beckett celebrated their platinum anniversary on Wednesday as they marked 70 happy years together.

It's a marriage landmark few couples reach.

But Billy and Gladys Beckett celebrated their platinum anniversary on Wednesday as they marked 70 happy years together.

It was on a hot day on June 4, 1938 at Howe Church, near Loddon, that the Chedgrave Manor gardener and housemaid tied the knot.

Seven decades on the couple - who live at Dorrington House in Dereham - have already enjoyed a tea party to celebrate with son and daughter in law Colin and Ann, daughter and son in law Jackie and Mick and granddaughters Joanne and Suzanne and will spend their big day seeing some of the Norfolk countryside they still love.

Mrs Beckett (nee Edmunds) is 91 on Saturday and her husband is two months her junior.

“We've had a lot of happy years together,” said Mrs Beckett, who added that “a bit of give and take” was the main secret to their long marriage.

She spent nearly four years during the Second World War fearing her husband had been lost in conflict.

Mr Beckett initially enlisted in the Territorial Army in 1939 and in October 1941 he was sent to the Far East as a soldier with the Royal Norfolk Regiment.

A few months later he was declared missing and it took more than 18 months for his wife to hear he had survived and was a Japanese prisoner of war - and it was only when he arrived home in October 1945 that she was certain he was alive and well.

They spent many years in the Loddon area and Mr Beckett continued as a gardener and later a garage attendant.

Mrs Beckett worked on the land and then as a cook at a local school.

They moved to Watton when they retired and spent 18 months at St Nicholas House in Dereham and have been at Dorrington House for about a year.

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