Love, humour and faith keep the bond of diamond couple as strong as ever
It took just one meeting for Richard Cook to find his enduring love and constant companion.
He was a police dog handler – Helen, a radar operator, at RAF Bawdsey in 1956. A year after their first date, they were married – and, this week, the Reydon couple celebrate their diamond wedding.
Helen Hope had moved from Knutsford, near Manchester, to coastal Suffolk, where Mr Cook was born into a family of Southwold fishmongers. On their first date, Mr Cook told a colleague he had found the girl he wanted to marry. Mr Cook proposed at his parent’s home after just six weeks of courtship. A year later, on August 24, 1957, they married in Mrs Cook’s home town. Under Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) rules, Mrs Cook left the service when she married, moving into her husband’s family home and helping out with business at W.S. Cook & Son, in East Street. Mr Cook was demobbed in January 1958 and ran the fish shop with his parents, while his wife ran a bed-and-breakfast above it – and would continue running for 23 years.
In that time, they had three children – Nigel, 58, a doctor of pharmacology in Switzerland; David, 56, head of clinical engineering at University College London Hospitals; and Jenny, 49, who owns and runs a holistic retreat centre in the Bahamas.
Mrs Cook went on to teach Sunday school and sit on various committees. Mr Cook captained Southwold Cricket Club for six years – but played for the team from the age of 12. More recently, he was a Southwold town councillor for five years, and is current captain and chairman of Reydon Carpet Bowls Club, where Mrs Cook also plays – and where both marked their 60th anniversary in a charity match with Blythburgh, before a family gathering yesterday. Two years ago, they moved from Southwold to Reydon and are members of St Margaret’s church. Both 80, they have four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Daughter Jenny said that their love, sense of humour and Christian faith kept them together. “Throughout it all, they have shared a deep love for one another,” she said.