Couple return to Hornchurch wedding venue to renew vows for 50th anniversary

Family and friends joined the couple on the 50th anniversary of their wedding

Family and friends joined the couple on the 50th anniversary of their wedding - Credit: Archant

When Joy Shaw answered her door in rollers to a ticket salesman, she did not expect they would one day celebrate 50 years of marriage.

Newlyweds Joy and Dennis at Langtons, December 1965

Newlyweds Joy and Dennis at Langtons, December 1965 - Credit: Archant

But last week she and Dennis Shaw, who on December 18 1965 were among the first couples wed at Langtons Hall registry office, returned to renew their vows.

Dozens of friends and family members joined the pair for their big day, but they didn’t always have so much support from family – they spent their wedding night on cushions on a friend’s floor because Joy’s parents disapproved of the marriage.

Remembering how they first met, Joy said: “I was born in Ramsgate and Dennis was from East Ham. My family moved to Harold Hill where Dennis had a door-to-door job selling tickets for a prize draw for cancer research. I came to the door in rollers when he called to deliver a £50 prize my mum had won.

“He told me he’d be back on Saturday to take me out and see what I looked like without the curlers and things just developed from there.


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“He kept his promise and took me to the pictures but we didn’t see the whole film as my father had told me I had to be home by 9pm.”

After their unusual wedding night, the couple spent two weeks at a friend’s flat in South Woodford and then squatted in a Woodford house which had been boarded up.

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Joy worked as a nursery nurse and Dennis at Basildon tractor plant, which got them a house in Basildon as the new town developed.

For 19 years they have lived in Wickford with their twin sons, daughter and six grandchildren all living nearby.

Joy added: “The marriage has been a real roller-coaster but a laugh a day has got us through and our 50th anniversary party at Langtons was everything we could have wished for, the staff were fantastic and we all really enjoyed the day.”

Langtons has seen a lot of changes in the last 50 years and is currently undergoing a £2.2m refurbishment of the gardens and building.

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