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Ballgame started a diamond life

PUBLISHED: 17:27 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 12:08 03 July 2010

'GIVE AND TAKE': Ron and Margaret Dowe, from Gorleston, who are celebrating 60 years of marriage.

'GIVE AND TAKE': Ron and Margaret Dowe, from Gorleston, who are celebrating 60 years of marriage.

Alan Thompson

A BALL game played by schoolchildren in Gorleston in the 1930s was the start of a childhood romance which has lasted 60 years.

Margaret and Ron Dowe, now both 83, of Gorleston celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary yesterday.

A BALL game played by schoolchildren in Gorleston in the 1930s was the start of a childhood romance which has lasted 60 years.

Margaret and Ron Dowe, now both 83, of Gorleston celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary yesterday.

The couple met at the age of 12 but in 1938 when Margaret returned to her birthplace in Scotland with her parents.

When war broke out, the young teenager helped care for Norwegians and wounded personnel coming from Scapa Flow skirmishes with the German Navy.

However, when peace came in 1945, she returned to Gorleston and started work at Erie Resistor.

Ron meantime had joined the Royal Engineers and later the infantry of the Royal Cheshire Regiment during the war. He saw action in Normandy, arriving in France a week after the D-Day landings as part of a second wave of troops deployed at the time.

He said: “I didn't see Margaret for seven years. It was only when I came home on leave that we met up again. But my time in the army was not over. I returned to Germany from leave and then went to serve in Palestine and Egypt until demob in 1947, although we kept in touch.”

The couple were married at Yarmouth Register Office on October 30, 1948 and a year after the wedding, Margaret gave up work to have their family - they have a son and a daughter, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Ron worked in Matthes Bakery until 1954 when he fancied some outdoor work. He joined the Corona soft drinks company as a driver-salesman and for many years he toiled in all weathers, recalling on one occasion being the only salesman out in the snow.

He said: “You met all sorts of people and it was a thoroughly enjoyable time. I worked there for 33 years and eventually became regional sales manager responsible for all the depots in the east of England.”

Between 1961 and 1971, the Dowe family moved to Cambridge but they missed Gorleston and decided to return.

Margaret rejoined Erie where she remained until retirement in 1985.

Margaret said that they have noticed how people's attitudes have generally changed over the years.

She said: “When we were first married, everyone knew everyone else, as it was such a small place. People would be in each other's houses, on invitation, and have a cup of tea and chat but that all seems to have disappeared now.

“But our own family have fond memories and every time our son comes to stay here he always goes to have a look at the seafront.”

Ron added: “It was the same when I was at work, we were always a good team, companies are only as successful as the people who work for them and the camaraderie in those days was good. If you had a problem, someone would help you.”

The couple have been at their current home for 38 years and both say they would not like to move anywhere else.

And their recipe for a long and happy marriage?

Margaret said: “Well, it's always a case of give and take but I would also say, never say anything in anger that you might regret later”

Ron added: “Never spend more than you earn. We had a tight time with money but we pulled through. If you are good with money you don't get out of the habit.”

The Dowes will be raising a glass or two and will be celebrating their 60 diamond years with their family and friends at the Celebration Suite, the Burrage Centre at the James Paget University Hospital tomorrow night.

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