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Platinum wedding anniversary joy for Ipswich childhood sweethearts who met at dance 82 years ago

PUBLISHED: 09:51 27 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:49 27 August 2017

Joan and Raymond Rowe who are celebrating their 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary. Joan and Raymond enjoying a moment. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Joan and Raymond Rowe who are celebrating their 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary. Joan and Raymond enjoying a moment. Picture: GREGG BROWN

It truly was love at first sight for two childhood sweethearts whose paths crossed at a school dance in Ipswich - more than three quarters of a century ago.

Joan and Raymond Rowe who are celebrating their 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWNJoan and Raymond Rowe who are celebrating their 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Former RAF airman Raymond Rowe, speaking just days after the pair’s platinum wedding anniversary said he feels the same as he did when he met wife Joan in 1935.

Despite attending separate boys’ and girls’ schools in Nacton Road, the couple were drawn to each other on the dance floor when they were just 11 years old.

Now great-grandparents to seven youngsters, Raymond and Joan left school at the same time and started working at the Co-op.

Their relationship lasted through Raymond’s years in the RAF during the Second World War, with the 93-year-old veteran admitting he thought about Joan every day.

Joan and Raymond Rowe who are celebrating their 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWNJoan and Raymond Rowe who are celebrating their 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWN

He said: “I fell in love with her the first time I saw her.

I still feel the same as I did when we first met each other.

“It was at a dance, we went to separate schools, boys and girls, in Nacton Road.

That was in 1935 so I think we would have been 11. I guess that must mean we have known each other for 82 years.

Raymond and Joan's platinum wedding anniversary celebrations at Bucklesham Grange in Ipswich. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYRaymond and Joan's platinum wedding anniversary celebrations at Bucklesham Grange in Ipswich. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

“We both left school at the same time and worked in the Co-op, she worked on the checkouts and I was in the grocery section.

“When I was 17 I joined the RAF and spent five years in the war – I survived my first bombing raid when I was 18. We married on the 16th of August 1947 so our anniversary was very recent.”

Raymond and Joan now live in Beech Lawn Residential Home in Ipswich – 93-year-old Joan’s health deteriorated a few years ago which meant Raymond became her carer.

When his own health began to falter he was unable to look after her and she moved in two years ago. Raymond himself moved in two months ago.

Joan and Raymond on their wedding day on August 16, 1947. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYJoan and Raymond on their wedding day on August 16, 1947. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

He added: “I love her dearly and I wouldn’t change anything about our lives, we bought our first home in Robin Drive in 1955 and lived there until a few years back when Joan had to come here.”

The couple’s son, Colin Rowe, 67, now lives in Colchester with wife Wendy.

In total Raymond and Joan have seven great-grandchildren – the youngest of which is Archie, who is almost two.

Colin said: “Mum just lights up when dad comes into the room. I cannot believe they have been together for so long, but as you can see they love each other dearly.”

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