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Surprise party is golden

PUBLISHED: 20:37 14 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich couple's Golden Wedding brought back poignant memories to make their landmark anniversary even more special.

Gerald and Eileen Smy (nee Duff), of Allenby Road, married on Boxing Day, 1951, because Mr Smy's parents were celebrating their silver wedding anniversary on the same date.

AN Ipswich couple's Golden Wedding brought back poignant memories to make their landmark anniversary even more special.

Gerald and Eileen Smy (nee Duff), of Allenby Road, married on Boxing Day, 1951, because Mr Smy's parents were celebrating their silver wedding anniversary on the same date.

"We decided to kill two birds with one stone," said Mrs Smy.

Mr Smy was serving in the Merchant Navy at the time and only had two days leave.

He said: "We didn't have a honeymoon but it was just one of those things, but it was definitely worth it."

At 17, Mr Smy joined the Navy and met Eileen's brother Donald who introduced them.

"Our first date was to the pictures at Ipswich Regent," said Mr Smy.

After 12 years in the Navy, Mr Smy got a job at Ipswich Docks where he worked for 32 years before retiring.

Mrs Smy, 69, has worked in catering all her life. At 14 she got her first job in the canteen at Philip Pipers, Old Foundry Road. Since then she has worked at Westley's, Orwell Café, and Peacocks where she worked for 27 years until she retired.

However, Mrs Smy found retirement boring and now runs the café at Alton Water.

To celebrate their 50 years of marriage, family and friends gathered at the Locomotive Club, Ipswich for a surprise party.

"I was completely and utterly duped. I thought I was going to a friend's birthday. My husband was in on it, but I never twigged.

"As I opened the door, cameras flashed and I was completely taken aback.

"We had a lovely time and it was one of the best days of our lives," said Mrs Smy.

Mr Smy said the secret to a long and happy marriage was being able to get along.

He added: "You get out what you put in. It is all about effort and compromise."

The couple have six children, twins Raymond and Barbara, David, Michael and twins Christopher and Christine.

They also have 17 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

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