Former Hitchin couple celebrate 70 years of marriage

William and Joy Laurence will celebrate 70 years as a married couple

William and Joy Laurence will celebrate 70 years as a married couple - Credit: Archant

A couple who planned a “quick wedding” during World War II are now celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary.

William and Joy Laurence marked 70 years of marriage on Wednesday.

The couple, who live in Shefford, married at St Mary’s Church in Hitchin in 1944, four months before Mr Laurence was sent to Normandy in France to fight in World War II.

Describing their wedding day, the 91-year-old said: “It was a quick wedding because I was called away to serve. I wanted to get married before being posted abroad and approached my commanding officer to see if he could arrange leave for me to get married on my birthday in May, 1944.

“The officer suggested it was brought forward as the invasion was being planned for May. It was just the weather that delayed D-Day until June. So the wedding took place in February.”


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The couple were only allowed two wedding photographs during wartime.

“It was a very difficult time, like it was for many people during the war,” he added.

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Mr Laurence met his wife while she was studying at Hitchin Grammar School, and went on to become a plumber with Letchworth GC-based company Willmott Dixon.

About their 70 years together, Mrs Laurence, 87, said: “We have been very lucky and very happy together. We share everything and we enjoy gardening together. We have been blessed and very lucky to have a great family.”

The pair will mark their milestone day by celebrating with family and friends at Holwell Bowls Club today (Sunday) – opposite the house the couple’s two children grew up in.

Mr and Mrs Laurence also have six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

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