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Read Letter Day for Diamond couple

PUBLISHED: 12:12 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 July 2010

Alan Thompson

A GORLESTON couple who conducted most of their courtship by letter celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

Godfrey and Vera Ringwood, both committed Christians, met at a Young Life Campaign Christian summer holiday at a guest house in Kew, near Richmond, Surrey in 1946.

A GORLESTON couple who conducted most of their courtship by letter celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

Godfrey and Vera Ringwood, both committed Christians, met at a Young Life Campaign Christian summer holiday at a guest house in Kew, near Richmond, Surrey in 1946.

The couple hit it off straight away and started to communicate by letters and then phone calls once they had returned to their respective homes, Godfrey to Gosport, Hampshire and Vera to Great Yarmouth.

They married at Fish Street Gospel Hall in Yarmouth near Vera's family in 1948 but immediately moved into their new house at Leigh-on-Solent, Hampshire.

Godfrey, 84, recalls the regattas that were held at Cowes, Isle of Wight. He said: “We had a marvellous view of the boats when they were taking part in the regattas as we were directly opposite to Cowes. It was a wonderful sight”

Prior to meeting Vera he had served in the Army Medical Corp for five years and saw active service in North Africa and then went on to Italy and Sicily.

He recalled: “A few of us lads went to the Sistene Chapel, the official residence of the Pope. Pope Pius XII was there at the time and we all received a blessing from him. Perhaps that's why I am still here today!”

Vera, 86, after leaving Edward Worlledge school, initially trained as a shorthand typist for Pickfords in Yarmouth but with the outbreak of war she joined the post office where she says she did everything including sorting, delivering telegrams and counter work.

She said: “I left school on Saturday and went in to work for my first job on the following Monday, I was just 15 at the time. But when the war broke out I had to do more practical things in the post office and I must say I enjoyed every minute I worked there.

“Mind you, I got into a bit of trouble once when I was caught playing cricket with the messenger boys!”

After leaving the army, Godfrey wanted to remain in the medical field.

The couple moved to Bury St Edmunds where he worked at West Suffolk General Hospital and St Mary's Hospital. He undertook rigorous training to become a state registered nurse and achieved his ambition by the age of 30. He passed all the exams to become best nurse of the year and was awarded a gold medal by the examining board.

In 1963 they made their final move to Gorleston. Godfrey worked as a charge nurse at the former Great Yarmouth General Hospital and later at the James Paget University Hospital when it first opened, where he remained until retirement.

Today they are actively involved in fundraising for the JPUH and have raised a total of £60,000 - in recognition of their efforts they were invited to the Queen's garden party at Buckingham Palace last year.

Surrounded by flowers and cards, one from the Queen, they said they still like to plan holidays at UK destinations and they have never travelled abroad together saying that they want to see all of this country.

The couple have two daughters and two grandsons.

A celebration has been put on hold, but there will be one this month as soon as they get all of their family together. Godfrey and Vera still attend Bethel Gospel Hall having been members since 1963. They both radiate a warm sense of friendship which is part of their Christian upbringing.

Their recipe for a long and happy marriage as they have enjoyed is summed by Godfrey. He said: “At our wedding we had a reading from Proverbs. It was 'In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

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