Wartime survivors celebrate 60 years of marriage

Mick and Joan Simkins celbrate their Golden Wedding with a card from the Queen
Mick and Joan Simkins celbrate their Golden Wedding with a card from the Queen

A couple who were lucky to survive the war and married in secret have celebrated 60 years of marriage in their home in Haverhill.

When Mick Simkins was 13 years old, a wartime bomb devastated his home and he was buried for hours after witnessing the deaths of his brother and uncle.

His wife Joan had been traumatised from being used as target practice for German fighter planes whilst she played in the school playground with pother children.

Their son Gary Simkins says it is a miracle the pair survived the traumas of wartorn London to marry at all.

“Dad and Mum originally from Peckham and Lambeth respectively were, in 1953, in love but apart, as Dad was in the Royal Navy, based in Lossiemouth,” Gary said.

“That Christmas, on a whim, Mum turned to Dad who was home on leave and said. ‘Let’s get married’. So they did!

“This was not a popular decision with family for no other reason than they did not want their 22 year old son and 21 year old daughter, to fly the nest so soon.

“But fly they did. They married in relative secrecy with just five people in attendance and only a couple of newspaper proof photos to officially record the day.”

Gary said his parents were seeking happier times ofter the traumas of the war when his mother left work at lunchtime, borrowed a dress and popped into a shop to buy a hat for the day. She fulfilled the tradition of wearing something borrowed and something new.

Sixty years on they have been living in Haverhill for 16 years, are the proud parents of two ‘boys’ and are grandparents and great grandparents.

Their grandson Ben (31), who attended Cangle, Parkway and Castle Manor schools has travelled from Denver, his home for 10 years, with his wife Katelyn and two and a half year old daughter Theia, for Christmas and to be with them for their special day.

The Simkins celebrated their diamond wedding with friends and family last Saturday at their home at Blackmore Close, Haverhill.

Gary added: “They received their card from the Queen and were very excited.”