Diamond couple mark milestone

Alan Thompson A MUTUAL interest in the roar of the speedway led to a Caister couple celebrating their diamond wedding on Thursday.Fred and Eileen McLaughlin were part of a foursome of friends when they paid regular visits to West Ham Speedway in their native East London.

Alan Thompson

A MUTUAL interest in the roar of the speedway led to a Caister couple celebrating their diamond wedding on Thursday.

Fred and Eileen McLaughlin were part of a foursome of friends when they paid regular visits to West Ham Speedway in their native East London.

Fred, 83, said: “We always used to go to the speedway together. We all just clicked as friends and the other couple, also named Fred, and Betty, ended up getting married as we did.”


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Fred and Eileen married at West Ham parish church on November 20, 1948.

Before they met, Fred had been called up for the Navy during the second world war, in early 1943, and came to Great Yarmouth as part of a naval manoeuvre.

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After the war he took on a variety of jobs: roof glazing, working in a bakers, the grocery business and later as a postman.

Eileen, 79, remained in the East End of London throughout the war years. She was a dressmaker by profession, but she also worked in the Bryant and May match factory at Stratford. After the war she worked for a time with Royal London Insurance.

She said: “Where the dressmaking was concerned, my mother used her front parlour and that's where we made all of the dresses and other clothes. But of course these were tough times and I did other jobs later on as well.

“When the war was over I worked in Sainsbury's and later at the insurance company.”

The couple moved to Caister in the 1980s, having spent many happy times in Yarmouth on holiday.

Today, they are still as active as ever with Fred playing indoor bowls, collecting for the local branch of the Royal British Legion and he is a former chairman of the Darby and Joan Club in Caister. Eileen can still be found busying herself with her needlework and attending the clubs with Fred who is something of an accomplished bingo caller.

Over the weekend they had two celebratory gatherings for friends and family at the Palm Court and on Monday they had a buffet lunch for their club friends at the Greengate, Caister.

The couple have two daughters and two grown-up grandchildren.

Their recipe for a long and happy marriage? Fred said: “Well anyone who says they never argue can't be telling the truth, but you have your ups and downs and you get through them together.”

Eileen agreed, saying it was the partnership of being best friends. She added: “If you are good friends then you do get through things together much easier.”

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