BY MATT BUNN
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
THEY say you’re never too old to fall in love.
Paul Walker, 88 and Ann Thayer, 87, of Maine, USA, married in November last year after 17 years of dating
In February this year, Dana Jackson married 87 year-old Bill Stauss in Kentucky
Rose Pollard, 90 married Forrest Lunsway on his 100th birthday last year - they had been together for 30 years
And, at the age of 75, Ipswich couple John and Betty Birkwood are proof of the saying after tying the knot in front of family and friends just a year after first meeting.
The loved-up pair’s story began last year when John, who was a captain in the army, moved into Dunwich Court, a sheltered housing complex in Waveney Road, and immediately spotted Betty at a weekly dance club.
He said: “Betty is a very good dancer and I was attracted to her straight away and I thought – I’m going to ask that girl out.
“We were face to face and I said ‘would you like to go to Felixstowe for a drive?’ And on that, hinged the rest of our lives.”
After their first date at the seaside the couple struck up an immediate bond and have embarked on a number of trips together – including one visit to Tavistock, in Devon, where Betty has family.
John added: “When I dropped her off at her niece’s, I was like a shy little boy being introduced to the relatives – I was nervous.”
The pair’s friendship was originally more for companionship – but within a few months their relationship blossomed.
John and Betty discussed getting married at length before finally deciding to take the plunge.
The wedding took place at the Whitehouse Baptist Church on Saturday, with members of John’s family coming from as far afield as the USA for the ceremony, which was followed by a reception at Dunwich Court.
Betty moved into Dunwich Court in 2008, three years after her husband died, while John, whose wife also died in 2008, moved to Dunwich Court from Scarborough last year.
John said: “Second love in the autumn of our years plus the warmth of good friends and neighbours around us – what more could we ask?”
Betty added: “We shall continue to live at Dunwich Court for the foreseeable future because it offers security and is a very happy place to live.”
The couple drove off for their honeymoon on Sunday and have spent a few days in Fontwell, near Chichester. They will also be visiting Chipshop – a small hamlet in Devon.
Barbara Bloomfield, Dunwich Court's scheme manager, said: “It is lovely to see two tenants so happy together.”
■ Have you got a heart-warming story to tell? Write to Star Newsdesk, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.