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End of war sees start of romance

PUBLISHED: 15:10 04 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:05 03 July 2010

Diamond couple: Emmanuel and Doreen Harman, who met at a VJ Day ball in Great Yarmouth in 1946.

Diamond couple: Emmanuel and Doreen Harman, who met at a VJ Day ball in Great Yarmouth in 1946.

THE Allied victory over Japan which effectively ended the second world war sparked the start of a 63-year romance.

Emmanuel and Doreen Harman, of Jellicoe Road, met at a VJ Day ball at the Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth in 1946 and last week celebrated 60 years of marriage and their diamond wedding anniversary.

Wedding day: The couple on their big day in 1949.

THE Allied victory over Japan which effectively ended the second world war sparked the start of a 63-year romance.

Emmanuel and Doreen Harman, of Jellicoe Road, met at a VJ Day ball at the Winter Gardens in Great Yarmouth in 1946 and last week celebrated 60 years of marriage and their diamond wedding anniversary.

Recalling the VJ Day Ball, Mr Harman said he'd spotted 17-year-old Doreen Palmer on the dance floor and asked her for a dance.

“She said, 'Here you are', and handed me her sister and I replied, 'It's you I want to dance with'.”

He got his wish and from that moment the couple have never looked back.

After looking in the window at a Broad Row jeweller's, a dazzling diamond ring caught the eye of Mrs Harman, sparking months of saving for Mr Harman. Then during a trip to the Regent cinema, Mr Harman broke the news the ring was no longer in the shop window, before pulling it out of his pocket and proposing in 1948.

They were married on May 28, 1949, at St Peter's Church, Yarmouth.

Mrs Harman recalled: “It was lovely and the sun eventually came out.”

Mr Harman was an apprentice bricklayer at RC Chastonin, Gorleston, before he served in the army for 18 months as a physical training instructor. He then returned to his civilian profession and later set up his own building and plastering contractors business, EA Harman, before retiring at the age of 58 because of back problems.

The business has since been taken on by two of the couple's three sons and trades today under the name Harman Brothers.

The couple, both aged 80, have six children, John, Janice, Dianne, Dean, Glen and Julie, 19 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren, with their 22nd due in five weeks' time.

Mrs Harman worked at Grouts silk factory on St Nicholas' Road from the age of 14 and left to have the couple's first child in 1950. She also worked at Birds Eye and Erie Resistor.

The country music fans celebrated their diamond anniversary with about 100 family members and friends at a party at Shrublands Community Centre, Gorleston.

For 14 years, Mr Harman sang and played guitar in his own band Love of Country, which often performed at the Bradwell Sun, The Centurion and the Nelson pubs in Yarmouth.

Looking back over their 60 years of marriage, Mr and Mrs Harman both agreed the time had flown by and said happiness, laughter and family were key to a long and successful marriage.

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