Globetrotting Stevenage couple celebrate platinum anniversary with Zoom family reunion

PUBLISHED: 14:01 17 May 2020

Helen and Buddy Palmer-Wilson celebrated 70 years of marriage on Thursday. Picture: Anne Banks

Helen and Buddy Palmer-Wilson celebrated 70 years of marriage on Thursday. Picture: Anne Banks

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An inspirational 91-year-old couple from Stevenage have celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary with a global family reunion over Zoom.

A young Helen and Buddy at the beginning of married life. Picture: Anne BanksA young Helen and Buddy at the beginning of married life. Picture: Anne Banks

Helena and Clarence Palmer-Wilson, of Grenville Way – better known as Helen and Buddy – celebrated an extraordinary 70 years of marriage on Thursday.

While a planned reunion was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, close family from across the globe were brought together thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

Helen and Buddy were played an emotional ‘This is Your Life’ presentation on Zoom, with family joining in from as far-flung as Perth, Minsk, and Moscow.

Daughter Anne Banks has shared the astonishing story of Helen and Buddy’s marriage, a journey that has taken them all over the world and back again.

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“Mum and dad started married life in what was then Tanganyika, now Tanzania, with three young babies – me, Helen and Bill,” Anne says.

“They then moved to Kenya, where dad joined the Kenyan police force, fighting in the infamous Mau Mau uprising – a very dangerous time for the family.”

After various trips back and forth to the UK, Anne says that Helen and Buddy eventually settled in the country in order to be closer to family – though Buddy continued to travel with work, and Helen joined him on many occasions.

For a time, the couple lived in Tehran, though they had to leave in 1979 when the Shah was overthrown during the Iranian Revolution. Helen also made an “emotional journey back to her homeland in Belarus.”

“Not only did mum survive the war,” Anne says, “she has lived with MS for years, though you’d never know it – she is always smiling, humble and caring.

“Three years ago, she took great pride in being honoured with a prestigious award from the Polish government – the Siberian Exiles Cross. The award recognises Polish citizens who have suffered at the hands of Stalin’s men in Soviet prison camps in Siberia, Kazakhstan and northern Russia from 1939 to 1956.

“So this is where the story is now. Mum and dad – Buddy and Helen – have lived an exciting, loving and fruitful life together with friends and family. 
“Their 70th anniversary was a truly memorable day – setting them off on another decade together.”


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