Dance lessons led to couple’s marriage

Norman and Edna Howard, from Stamford, who are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary
Norman and Edna Howard, from Stamford, who are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary
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With two sets of twins, one other young child and no car, Edna and Norman Howard had major transportation problems in the 1950s and 60s.

The intrepid couple adapted two bicyles with additional seats for the children and pedalled all over their local area - even to the seaside!

“We cycled everywhere - even to Brancaster beach until we got our first car, a Ford Popular, for £25,” Norman said.

Last week Edna and Norman were celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary with drinks and cake for family and friends at their home in Stirling Road, Stamford. They also enjoyed a family dinner at the William Cecil Hotel on Saturday.

Edna was 80 the week before their 60th anniversary and Norman is 81.

The couple grew up in Docking, Norfolk, where Norman worked as a farmhand and played for the village football team. They met as he waited at the bus stop on Saturdays to get to the match and she would come tearing down the road on her bike to get to her job in the village shop. Shortly afterwards dance lessons began in the village, they both went along and became engaged for two years until they married on November 28, 1953 at St Mary’s Church in Docking.

“He went missing during the wedding reception in the village hall - he had popped up to the football field to see how his team were getting on,” Edna said.

They had daughter Christine in 1955, twins Diane and Jane in 1957 and, unusually, a second set of twins - Anne and Brian - in 1962. They lived in a tied farm cottage in Docking until 1970. Then, as Christine was about to leave school and there was no work nearby for her, they moved to Long Barn Farm at Ketton. When George Skinner sold the farm, Norman went to work for Ketton Cement for 18 years until he retired.

Mr and Mrs Howard lived in Drift Avenue, Stamford, before downsizing to a bungalow in Stirling Road in 1999. Edna used to work at Cundy’s wallpaper shop in Stamford High Street and later at greengrocers Pauley’s. Both are members of Stamford Indoor Bowls Club and Norman is a member of Stamford & District Cage Bird Society and has bred canaries for many years. They have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

And their recipe for surviving 60 years of marriage?

“We’ve had our ups and downs - but I can’t remember the last time we fell out,” Norman said.

“You just get on with life - and look after each other,” said Edna.