Noak Hill anniversary couple Irene and Bill Wallace dream of a Diamond Christmas
Christmas is always a busy time for Irene and Bill Wallace – but at least their anniversary is easy to remember.
That’s because the pair got married on December 25, 1952 – and Christmas Day this year will see them mark their Diamond Wedding anniversary.
Daughter Adele believes there’s no great secret to their success – just love and dedication.
“They’re totally devoted to each other,” she said.
“They give and take all the time. They do everything for each other, which is quite remarkable.”
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Irene Reynolds and William Wallace – now 79 and 81 – met as teenagers at a dance in Poplar town hall.
“The story comes up every Christmas,” said Adele.
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“My dad was 16. He always just says: ‘I saw her dancing and I thought, I want to dance with her – and she was the one.’
“Dad went into the army in 1949. When he came back he proposed, and it was her father who chose the date.”
Mr and Mrs Wallace, who tied the knot the year Elizabeth II ascended to the throne, are used to sharing their anniversaries with the monarch.
“They’ve been joking about it,” said Adele, 46. “We did a lot for the Jubilee, but they kept saying: ‘Don’t forget – there’s a more important one at the end of the year.’”
That’s not their only connection to Her Majesty. Irene, now 79, used to work as a tailor, during which time she made lace cuffs and frills for the Royal household.
When she left full-time work to bring up the family – Adele and her sister Gail, 49 – Bill, who worked in East London furniture shops until retirement, became the breadwinner.
The Wallaces moved to Chadwell Heath in 1958, eventually relocating to Noak Hill in the mid-1980s.
They now have five grandchildren, ranging in age from 29-year-old Jason to seven-year-old Melissa.
“They were devoted to me and my sister, and now to the grandchildren,” said Adele. “They’ll do anything for anyone.
“They had good rules – not that, growing up, you always like that. It’s not until I’ve looked back that I’ve thought: ‘I’m glad they instilled those rules.
“They were quite strict but we never went without anything.
“As a parent I look up to them and try to be like them – some of their rules I try to follow with my own daughter.”