‘I couldn’t have picked anyone better’ - Great Yarmouth couple celebrate diamond wedding anniversary

The couple are celebrating 60 years of marriage Picture: Kim Firth

The couple are celebrating 60 years of marriage Picture: Kim Firth - Credit: Archant

A Great Yarmouth couple are celebrating 60 years of marriage.

Dennis Barnes, 83, first came to the area for work when he met his Winterton wife-to-be, Jean, 82.

He said: “I came up from London to work at Somerton Hall and I stayed in the village at Winterton.

“We were at The Bell in Hemsby when we met. I was drunk at the time and I am still getting over the hangover.

“We just got on and hit it off straight away.”

By May 1958, six months on from their first encounter, the couple had wed.

The couple ran a number of businesses together and had two children - tragically losing their son 17 years ago.

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Mr Barnes said: “My boy got killed by a drunk driver in Norwich. That has been the biggest low, but other than that we’ve had all good times.

“We used to run Winterton carpark, that used to be mine, and we sold ice cream up there and everything. We ran the Casual Corner cafe in Regent Street.

“We opened a bed and breakfast in Walpole Road too when the holiday season was good - back when you used to open in May and close about November.”

Reflecting on his long and healthy life and marriage, Mr Barnes said he felt moving to the town from the capital may have been a blessing.

He said: “I think if I had stayed in London I wouldn’t have been 60 years married. I think I would have been about 10 years down under.

“The pace down there is so different to what it is up here.”

The couple walk a few miles every day along the seafront to “keep the legs going”, but Mr Barnes said the key to a relationship that can go the distance is to be open with each other.

He said: “I can’t be controlling, and she doesn’t control me either.

“We’re both pretty open with one another, we’re never possessive with each other like some people are.

“Honestly when we got married I never thought we’d be together for 60 years, but I couldn’t have picked anyone better. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”