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Diamond couple 'hit it off' from start

PUBLISHED: 17:56 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:30 03 July 2010

A COUPLE who met just four times before getting married have celebrated 60 years of marriage.

Stella, 85, and Archie Buckell, 90, of Acle celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday surrounded by cards of congratulations, including one from the Queen.

A COUPLE who met just four times before getting married have celebrated 60 years of marriage.

Stella, 85, and Archie Buckell, 90, of Acle celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday surrounded by cards of congratulations, including one from the Queen.

The couple married at Moulton St Mary on July 24, 1948, having met over tea at a mutual friend's home in Berkshire.

Stella said: “Archie was engaged to someone else who was two-timing him and I had just packed up a boyfriend, so when we met it was on neutral ground although we had seen each other before.”

They hit it off right away and married the following July.

After leaving school at the age of almost 14, Stella went into service at a farm near Acle, but she was worked hard and the family doctor advised her parents she should leave.

When the second world war broke out she volunteered for the ATS and was based in Northampton. But it wasn't for long as she was posted to Liver-pool as a watcher and remembers the Luftwaffe bombing.

She said: “Watching was either done by radar usually at night or by line of sight. When we were alerted to enemy approaching, I would inform the gunners.”

While carrying out her wartime duties she suffered a spinal injury and was eventually invalided out.

When the war was over, Stella started work with the Blofield and Flegg Food Office, issuing permits for grocers as food was still rationed and she also distributed the ration books in the Acle area.

After marrying Archie, she decided to be a homemaker.

Archie's first job in his mid teens was as an errand boy but he was sacked after three days because he got lost while he was delivering groceries. He went on to become a furniture assembler, then a decorator and plasterer.

When he was initially called up for service, he joined the Royal Berkshire 4th Battalion and saw active service in France and Belgium before being captured and held as a prisoner of war for five years.

He said: “I had to spend some time labouring in the cement factories and coal mines of Poland as part of the German war effort. We were liberated by the Americans the day before my birthday, April 29 1945. It was a marvellous present!”

Returning to civvies, he went back to work as a decorator and plasterer and officially retired at 65 but he continued working part-time until he was 76.

Now the couple spend their time in their garden and listening to music and Stella enjoys playing her electric keyboard.

Their recipe for a long and happy marriage was to have a good wife or husband, never quarrel, and to have family around you.

The Buckells joined their son and daughter, two grand-daughters and five great grandsons for a special anniversary celebration at The Lodge, Acle on Sunday.

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