Fun key to a happy marriage

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A couple who celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary this week believe laughter and having a sense of humour is the key to a successful marriage.

Pat and Norman Lawrence have known each other since they were at school together at Denbigh Road, Luton.

The couple, of Ridgeway Avenue, Dunstable, got together at a dance at the George Hotel in Luton when Pat was 18, and have been together ever since. They were married at Christ Church in the town on September 8, 1945.

Wartime rationing meant the girls at Pat’s place of work all pooled their dress coupons for the bridesmaids dresses - which were then used again for several other weddings.

Their honeymoon was a few days in Parracombe in Devon, with the added interest that the road signs to the village had been moved as a precaution during the war!

Norman aged 93, a keen athlete, had been badly injured in an accident at the age of 16, which has left him with a permanent disability.

It meant he spent the war years as a driver in the Home Guard.

He worked at Commer Cars in Luton as an inspection superintendent and was there when the factory was bombed in 1944.

Pat worked in accounts before the birth of her first son. The couple went on to have four boys, 10 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and one great great grandson born in May this year.

But tragedy struck when their second son, Philip, who worked as a police detective in Luton, died following an operation 10 years ago.

The couple, who moved to Dunstable in 1957, have seen some changes in the area.

Pat, who is 90 this week, was one of the first patients at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital when she had her tonsils out in 1938.

Her father paid two guineas a week and she was in hospital for two weeks.

They also saw Queen Mary when she opened the hospital.

And Norman’s claim to fame is that he was possibly the first person to break down on the M1. He took the four boys for a short drive a couple of days after it opened, and broke down on the way back from Toddington.

He was filmed fixing his car by the roadside by a passing Movietone camera crew.

Pat and Norman still like to stay independent and get out most days to do their own shopping.

They will be celebrating their platinum anniversary with a family meal at the Old Palace Lodge with one of their original bridesmaids, Beryl Davies, in attendance.

They will also be whisked away for a luxury weekend in Poole.

And their secret to a happy marriage?

“We laugh a lot and talk a lot, you have to have a sense of humour,” said Pat.

Norman added: “We’ve never had a serious argument all our lives. But the biggest mistake was letting her have my pin number!”