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Ipswich couple who faced a family battle to tie the knot celebrate their 60-year anniversary

PUBLISHED: 08:39 27 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:45 27 June 2017

Don and Margaret Messenger, from Ipswich, have been married for 60 years. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Don and Margaret Messenger, from Ipswich, have been married for 60 years. Picture: GREGG BROWN

An Ipswich couple celebrating 60 years of marriage this week say they had a rocky road to wedded bliss - having had to put an ultimatum to the future bride’s mother to agree to the wedding.

Don and Margaret Messenger, from Ipswich, celebrate their 60th anniversary on June 29. Picture: GREGG BROWN Don and Margaret Messenger, from Ipswich, celebrate their 60th anniversary on June 29. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Don and Margaret Messenger, 84 and 80, from Ipswich, married on June 29, 1957, after meeting at a dance hall four years earlier.

But Margaret’s mother wasn’t too keen on the motorbike-riding Don at the start, and needed persuading to let them tie the knot.

“We got married on his birthday”, said Margaret, “it was intentional because my mum didn’t want us to get married.

“I wasn’t 21 yet so had to have permission to get married.

Don and Margaret Messenger, from Ipswich, will mark 60 years of marriage on June 29. Picture: GREGG BROWN Don and Margaret Messenger, from Ipswich, will mark 60 years of marriage on June 29. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“I said to her if you don’t let us get married in June I will wait until my birthday in winter and we will get married when it’s cold.

“Eventually she relented.

“It was good though because my dad only lived for a few years after that so got to see me married and meet his granddaughter.

“It was funny because the day we got married was a very hot day.
“We had to get the photographs done quickly because the cake was melting.”

Don and Margaret Messenger had to put an ultimatum to Margaret's mum in order to get her permission for the wedding to go ahead. Picture: GREGG BROWN Don and Margaret Messenger had to put an ultimatum to Margaret's mum in order to get her permission for the wedding to go ahead. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Margaret said Don made quite the impression when she first laid eyes on him.

“We met at a dance hall, St Lawrence Dance Hall, which is now the Buttermarket opposite the church,” she said.

“When I met him he came in with four other chaps all dressed up in blazers looking very smart.

“I thought he was quite nice when I saw him.

“One after another they asked if they could take me home but I said no, I’ve got my bicycle with me.

“He had a motorbike and I thought my mum would kill me if I got on the back of it.

“The next Sunday I was going up to the corner shop in town and there he was on his motorbike trying to find out where I lived.”

A few months after meeting, the couple were separated as Don was called up for national service, so they had to wait another four years to get married.

The pair have had two children, Sandra and Jayne and now have a grandson and four granddaughters.

Margaret said it was their differences that helped the couple stay together so long.

“My husband is a very placid type of chap,” she said.

“He is not like me.

“I am the one who worries and he just goes with the flow.”

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