Yvonne and Norman Terrell, of Rainham, celebrate 60 years of marriage this Valentine’s Day

Yvonne and Norman Terrell were married on Valentine's Day 1953

Yvonne and Norman Terrell were married on Valentine's Day 1953 - Credit: Archant

This Valentine’s Day marks 60 years since a pair of loved-up joggers took each other’s breath away.

Yvonne and Norman Terrell were married on Valentine's Day 1953

Yvonne and Norman Terrell were married on Valentine's Day 1953 - Credit: Archant

Married on February 14, 1953, Yvonne and Norman Terrell’s paths had crossed – quite literally – just a few yards from the house in Upminster Road North, Rainham, where they live today.

“My sister and I were out running when we saw Norman and his neighbour,” remembers fond Yvonne. “We stopped and spoke to them before we carried on running down the road.

“But then we changed our minds, turned round and caught them up!

“He had a lovely smile and beautiful blue eyes – I was very impressed. He was certainly very attractive.”


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The feeling was mutual, as former footballer Norman recalls.

“I liked her straightaway,” he said. “She was good-looking and had a good figure and that all helped. Then we found out we both had an interest in sports.”

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Young Norman had been captain of the West Ham fourths before going on to play for Rainham All Boys, while Yvonne was a keen cyclist and tennis player.

But despite their active lifestyles, Yvonne and Norman’s early relationship was a laid-back affair.

“I invited him home to come and play table tennis and have a cup of cocoa, as you did in those days,” Yvonne, now 86, remembered. “We went to the pictures on a date and it went from there.”

Even so, mutual interests saw the former Ritz receptionist and the now-retired telecoms worker making sweet music together before long.

“We were interested in the same things,” she said. “As well as sport, music is a great passion – and Norman plays piano, guitar and ukulele, and he sings.”

The couple married at St Helen’s and St Giles Church, Upminster Road South. Their first child, Christopher, came along in 1959 – soon followed by another son, Nicholas, and finally twins Simon and Elizabeth, now 46.

But after 60 years the grandparents-of-seven believe there’s no easy route to a successful marriage – it’s all about give and take. “We’d been married three years before we even had our first row,” recalled Yvonne.

Her husband added: “We’re very lucky. We have a very happy family.

“I was one of 11, so I grew up learning to share things.”

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