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Lowestoft couple’s special platinum occasion

PUBLISHED: 08:44 12 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:44 12 April 2017

John and Doreen Smith's 70th anniversary. Pictures: MICK HOWES

John and Doreen Smith's 70th anniversary. Pictures: MICK HOWES

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They first met on Christmas Eve in 1945.

John and Doreen Smith's 70th anniversary. Pictures: MICK HOWESJohn and Doreen Smith's 70th anniversary. Pictures: MICK HOWES

And that chance meeting for two teenagers turned out to be the best present of all, as John and Doreen Smith recently marked their platinum wedding.

The Lowestoft couple enjoyed a special surprise party as they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with friends and family from across the country at the Hotel Victoria.

Mrs Smith, 88, said: “It was an absolutely beautiful surprise. We did not know anything about it and we had a wonderful time.”

Mr Smith, 89, added: “We live in Glenwood Court, and my son Alan and his wife said that we would go out just the four of us for a meal. Walking along the road we saw Alan wearing his best suit, and soon we realised that all the family from everywhere were turning out for us.

“It was a great surprise as there were family and friends and people we had not seen for a long time.”

Relatives from Bristol, High Wycombe, Surrey, Middlesex and elsewhere all descended on the Hotel Victoria for the surprise celebrations.

Mrs Smith, who was born in Pakefield, moved to London with her mother where she met her future husband.

Mr Smith recalled how they first met on Christmas Eve 1945. He said: “I was walking down the road when I saw Doreen and her friend.”

They would go on to spend 15 months together before they married on March 17, 1947.

Mr Smith ran his own contract cleaning company in the capital until he retired and the couple moved to Lowestoft 20 years ago as they both loved the area and had been regular visitors throughout their married life.

For their 50th wedding anniversary, the couple were lucky enough to have been chosen to join the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 1997 as the Royal couple were also celebrating their golden wedding.

And as Mr and Mrs Smith marked their 70th anniversary last month, their son Alan and family arranged a secret party to celebrate. The couple were joined by many friends and relatives including their son Alan, five grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren.

“We have always got on,” Mrs Smith said. “We would like to thank Alan as he really worked hard to arrange it all – we were really surprised and happy.”

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