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Six month marriage lasts for 60 years

Mark Westley Photography
Diamond wedding couple from Withersfield Vi and Harry Olley. ANL-140813-015359009

Mark Westley Photography Diamond wedding couple from Withersfield Vi and Harry Olley. ANL-140813-015359009

A Haverhill couple, whose first date almost never happened are celebrating their diamond wedding.

Vi and Harry Olley were married in 1954 at St James’ Church in Holland Park, London.

Today, they celebrate 60 years of marriage.

“My mother said it would only last six months,” said Vi Olley, 78. “Sixty years later, we’re still here.”

“I had to get my dad to sign the papers because I was still underage.”

Harry Olley, 83, said: “We met at Battersea Park. I said, ‘can I see you again?’ and we made a date.”

But the date between Harry, a proud cockney from Lambeth walk, and Kensington born Vi almost never happened.

“Thing is,” Harry said. “I was late. Just as I got there, I saw her walking away. I had to run and catch up to her.”

Mrs Olley added: “I don’t wait for anyone.”

Harry certainly had some stories to tell. During his time in the army, he had stood as a guard at the funeral of King George VI in 1952 and again during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Prior to this, he had escaped injury during the blitz, when his whole family had been forced to take refuge in an air raid shelter.

Then, while working as a carpenter building sets for iconic ‘60s photographer John Cowan, Harry met and befriended a host of household names, including the Beatles, Twiggy, David Hemmings and Jimmy Savile.

The couple moved to Haverhill in 1966, where Mr Olley’s skills as a carpenter brought him work in the rapidly growing estates in the town, including the Chalkstone Estate.

He also helped with the construction of Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge.

The pair intend to celebrate with a family meal tonight and a larger party on Saturday (August 16).

Daughter, Christine Barry, said: “It gives us an idea of what marriage should be.

“Seeing how happy they are gives us something to work towards.”

“I’ll tell you what though,” added Harry. “You won’t find any one else like Vi.”

 

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