Couple celebrates 70th anniversary at Letchworth cinema where they first met

PUBLISHED: 17:30 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:32 22 August 2018

William and Thelma Kitchener celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with family at the Broadway Cinema where they met when William worked the projection screens and Thelma was an usherette. Picture: DANNY LOO

William and Thelma Kitchener celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with family at the Broadway Cinema where they met when William worked the projection screens and Thelma was an usherette. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

A couple from Letchworth have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at the Broadway Cinema and Theatre – the place where they first met.

William and Thelma Kitchener celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with family at the Broadway Cinema where they met when William worked the projection screens and Thelma was an usherette. Picture: DANNY LOOWilliam and Thelma Kitchener celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with family at the Broadway Cinema where they met when William worked the projection screens and Thelma was an usherette. Picture: DANNY LOO

Bill and Thelma Kitchener reached the milestone platinum anniversary on Thursday last week.

The couple were joined by friends, family and current staff at the Heritage Foundation – which runs the Eastcheap venue.

They enjoyed a champagne reception at the cinema, a building which has seen many changes over the years.

Bill and Thelma first met at the Broadway in the 1940s, not long after it opened to an audience of 1,400 people on its very first night in 1936.

William and Thelma Kitchener celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with family and Heritage Foundation venues manager Jason Valentine (right) at the Broadway Cinema where they met when William worked the projection screens and Thelma was an usherette. Picture: DANNY LOOWilliam and Thelma Kitchener celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with family and Heritage Foundation venues manager Jason Valentine (right) at the Broadway Cinema where they met when William worked the projection screens and Thelma was an usherette. Picture: DANNY LOO

Bill was working as a projectionist and Thelma had a job as an usherette.

Now 93 and 90 years old, they have two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and have spent 70 happy years together.

When asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage, Mrs Kitchener told the Comet: “Kiss each other good morning and kiss each other goodnight, and the rest of the day will be fine.”

Granddaughter Lainey Walker-Hoskins said: “Nana and grandad are an inspiration to all the family.

“We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate their platinum anniversary with them.

“Returning to Broadway has made the occasion extra special, it’s a place that holds so many dear memories for them.”

The celebration also included a cake, which was made especially for them.

Jason Valentine, venues manager for the Heritage Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this special day.

“A 70th anniversary is certainly cause for celebration.

“To have two former employees of the cinema able to come back so many years later to celebrate such an occasion is fantastic.

“We’re looking forward to hosting them and hearing more about their memories of their time at the cinema.”

The Broadway Cinema, designed by Bennett and Bidwell and built by Howard Hurst, originally opened its doors in 1936.

In recent years, the cinema has undergone an extensive refurbishment, which included restoring and developing the cinema into a four-screen facility.

In 2016 it also became a theatre following a multi-million pound development. To find out what’s going on at the venue visit broadway-letchworth.com.

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