West Winch couple celebrate platinum wedding

Platinum Wedding Anniversary for George and Joan Gibbs from West Winch ANL-140907-190626009
Platinum Wedding Anniversary for George and Joan Gibbs from West Winch ANL-140907-190626009
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A couple who met when they each fled their homes in World War II are celebrating 70 years of marriage.

George and Joan Gibbs, of Westland Chase, West Winch, knew they were destined for each other when they met in 1942. They married two years later under special licence because, aged 18, Mr Gibbs needed parental permission to tie the knot to his 21-year-old bride-to-be.

Mr Gibbs, 88, said: “We have had our ups and downs but we always sorted things out between the two of us.

“We have never been apart other than in circumstances beyond our control, like hospital treatment, and we wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Mrs Gibbs grew up in West Ham, so close to the football ground she could listen to the matches in her garden, whilst Mr Gibbs was the son of a Great Yarmouth fisherman.

In wartime, Mr Gibbs’ father joined the Royal Navy and relocated his family to the safety of Suffolk, where Mrs Gibbs had gone to live with her parents.

Mrs Gibbs was an assistant nurse in a hospital where Mr Gibbs began a 45-year career as a clerical worker.

Once married, Mr Gibbs insisted that his wife did not return to work until the youngest of their four boys was ten and they struggled to make ends meet.

They survived by growing all their own vegetables and raising chickens and rabbits, which they’d dispatch out of sight of the boys!

When Mrs Gibbs returned to the workplace she went into catering and ended up a supervisor to 20 staff.

The boys all went on to have successful careers, George, 69, as a headteacher in Essex; Brian, 68, as a chartered accountant, David, 65, worked for IBM and Peter, 62, who owns his own business, Ambit MHS, in Lynn. The couple now also have eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

The couple moved to Annes Drive, Hunstanton, in the 90s and to West Winch in 2000.

Their early years of financial hardship behind them, the couple have visited Australia and New Zealand during retirement and have just returned from a trip to Scotland.

They will celebrate their anniversary with a family party.