Jean and Tom's diamond guest

SIXTY years ago young lovebirds Jean and Tom Brisland never imagined they would be celebrating their diamond anniversary with the vicar that married them.

SIXTY years ago young lovebirds Jean and Tom Brisland never imagined they would be celebrating their diamond anniversary with the vicar that married them.

However that was the special treat in store for the couple, who reminisced with 94-year-old Canon Geoffrey Oram about the momentous occasion at St Thomas the Apostle church in Bramford Lane, Ipswich, all those years ago.

Mr and Mrs Brisland first met when they were just youngsters but it wasn't until years later that they met up again and began courting.

Celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this week, the couple, who live in Brockley Crescent, Westbourne, both agree that their Christian faith and a stable family life has made their partnership stronger.

Mrs Brisland, 83, said: “If you loose your faith, you have lost it all. Marriage is also about perseverance and stable family life.

“It is lovely to see Canon Oram again. We remember him as a young man going around on an old racing bike.”

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Canon Oram said: “I do remember them but it's a long while back. It was a happy occasion. I never thought I would see them 60 years later.”

They first met in 1935 when Mrs Brisland, née Wilding, then 11 years old, accompanied her aunt to a doctor's surgery in Fore Street, Ipswich as she was meeting someone who worked with Mr Brisland.

Mr Brisland, then 16, claims that as soon as he laid eyes on his future wife, he knew she was the one.

Originally from Hull, Mr Brisland served in the merchant navy as a chef, cooking for 56 men, between 1935 and 1951. In 1943 he went on leave and that is when he met up with Mrs Brisland again and they began a relationship.

Mrs Brisland clearly remembers his proposal which was in the old Hippodrome in Ipswich's Queen Street.

She said: “We organised the wedding date but it was touch or go whether it would be on the 22nd or 29th of May because we weren't sure when his ship would dock.”

In the end they married on May 22, 1948.

Mrs Brisland worked as an insurance clerk for most of her life, briefly stopping when she had her two children, Keith and Rodney. They now also have four grandchildren.

After completing his service in the navy, he worked as a semi-skilled machinist for a brass company until his retirement in 1984.

Mr Brisland, 88, said: “We are very lucky we are together as a lot of people split up these days.”

There was a small gathering of friends, family and parishioners for their actual anniversary on Thursday and this weekend, they are due to celebrate with the family.

Are you celebrating a milestone anniversary? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

Canon Oram, who now lives in Playford, was a curate in Rugby before he arrived at St Thomas' in 1942. He stayed at St Thomas' for seven years, during which time he conducted many wedding services.

After leaving there, he went to parishes in East Bergholt and Aldeburgh, before retiring in 1980.

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