If it had not been for National Service and religion, John and Janet Runnacles would never have met.
But the Bury St Edmunds couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last Thursday because Army National Service took the 21-year-old Ipswich-born John to Wokingham in Berkshire where the 17-year-old Janet had spent all her life.
Janet recalled: “He came to our church on the Sunday – that was how we met. It didn’t take long to realise we were the best of friends.
“National Service had brought him a long way from home and in other circumstances we would never have met. We’ve always said God brought us together.”
They were engaged in 1953 and Janet went to Cambridge to train as a teacher, while John became a power engineer with Eastern Electricity Board. They married in Wokingham Baptist Church in and lived for 50 years near Colchester, then moved to Bury to be near the oldest of three daughters.
They also have eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
They celebrated their anniversary with about 60 family and friends, including three of their four bridesmaids and the best man.
Janet’s advice for a long and happy marriage is: “Learn to be quick to say sorry. learn to forgive and learn to laugh at your disasters – just respect and trust one another.”