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Couple’s 75 years of bliss in the same north Suffolk home

PUBLISHED: 14:20 03 June 2011

Ashby 75th wedding anniversary couple Clifford and Hilda Dann.
Photo: Andy Darnell

Ashby 75th wedding anniversary couple Clifford and Hilda Dann. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2011

MOST couples consider it an achievement to clock up 10 years of marriage.

Those who make it to 25 years get to celebrate their silver anniversary, and for another 25, it’s gold.

But Clifford and Hilda Dann have left those marital milestones way behind.

This week, the couple – who are both 96 – marked an amazing 75 years together, having lived in the same home at Ashby, near Somerleyton, for their entire married life.

On Wednesday, they marked their ‘second diamond’ anniversary by recreating their wedding day pose – exactly 75 years after they tied the knot at St Mary’s parish church in Ashby on June 1, 1936.

The couple were also treated to a special family meal and, along with lots of visits from friends and family, they received a card from the Queen congratulating them on their achievement.

Mrs Dann joked: “She must be getting tired of sending them to us!”

Remarkably, Mrs Dann was also born at their home – White Lodge in Market Road – and has lived all her life in the house.

Now approaching 97, she recalled: “I was born there in 1914 and my parents worked on the Herringfleet Hall estate. It has changed a bit over the years as we have modernised with the times, and added a bathroom and indoor toilet.”

The couple met when Reepham-born Mr Dann started work on the nearby Somerleyton Hall estate as a gardener for Lord Somerleyton – and they’ve never looked back.

Mr Dann recalled how he was working in the gardens when he first laid eyes on the then Hilda Goldsmith.

“We got talking and we gradually got closer,” he said.

The couple’s three children – a daughter and two sons – were all brought up at White Lodge, and they also now have seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

So what is the secret of their marital bliss?

“We do get on well with each other and we’ve had to be apart for a few weeks, as Clifford was involved with the D-Day landings during the second world war,” Mrs Dann said.

He later returned to work on the Somerleyton estate but eventually left and got a job at the Pye TV factory at Lowestoft, where he worked for a further 24 years until his retirement.

Mrs Dann, meanwhile, worked in service in Lowestoft after leaving school for three years until her mother died, and she also looked after her father. She was also a churchwarden for 20 years at Ashby.

The couple still enjoy working in their garden, though not as much as they would like. “We still love the gardening, but not so much now we’re getting older as we’ve both had to give things up over the years,” Mrs Dann said.

Despite being 96, Mr Dann still drives his car and at their special family meal this week they both admitted that they had enjoyed “a great time”.

l Did you know? There are currently two diamond anniversaries, one at 60 and one at 75 years. The 75th anniversary is the original, traditional diamond anniversary with the 60th being added when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee on her 60th anniversary of accession to the throne in 1897.

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