Scratby couple enjoy diamond delight

THEY met at an army cadets canteen, but it took national service and being hundreds of miles apart to bring together one couple now celebrating 60 years of married life.

Derek and Joan Sharpe marked their diamond wedding anniversary last Thursday, with a visit from friends to their bungalow in Scratby for a buffet and drinks.

However, their long and happy relationship got off to a rocky start when the teenagers first met in 1947, as Derek, 81, explained: “I was in the army cadets in Luton and she worked in the canteen giving us bread and dripping.

“I liked her but she wasn’t so keen on me because I had spots and my hands weren’t like working men’s hands.”

However, the two socialised in the same circle and got on well, and it was after Derek had completed natiownal service in Greece that things changed.

Joan, 79, explained: “We just used to go out with quite a few of us, but when he went in the army we wrote to each other and when he came out we started going out together. He was very kind and had a wonderful sense of humour.”

Shortly after, the pair got engaged, and, at the age of 19, Joan was married before she moved with her new husband into her grandmother’s house in Luton.

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In 1964, Joan left work to care for their son David, while Derek worked as an advertising artist and became a sergeant major in the Territorial Army.

The pair moved to their current home in 1988.

“My husband was made redundant, and we had friends here who said if we were going to be miserable we might as well do it around here.” said Joan. “We had holidayed here before and we liked the place and the people.”

Since then, they’ve enjoyed going on yearly holidays abroad and while Derek edits the magazine for his former regiment, Joan enjoys gardening.

She added: “We’re having family over in the new year to celebrate our anniversary, and our son has paid for us, as a present, to go to Majorca, hopefully in May.”