Diamond celebration’s a nice one for Cyril and Val

NOW: The diamond couple cut the cake at their celebrations.
NOW: The diamond couple cut the cake at their celebrations.

THERE’S no secret to a long and happy marriage – it is just give and take in everything.

That is the view of one Ludford couple, who celebrated 60 years of marriage last week.

Val and Cyril Lyford marked their diamond wedding anniversary with a party in the garden of their Magna Mile home, where they were joined by family and friends.

“I can’t believe we have been married for 60 years – it doesn’t seem that long,” said Cyril.

The couple met at a dance in the Wimbledon Palais, when Val was 18 and Cyril was 21.

Cyril had recently completed his National Service and discovered he had contracted TB while overseas. He spent the next year in hospital.

But Val stood by him and it was from his hospital bed that he made his marriage proposal.

It was on July 19, 1952, that Val and Cyril married at the Methodist Church in South Norwood.

The wedding reception was held over the road and the couple remember their guests stopping the traffic to make an archway for the newly-weds to walk through.

“I remember having to get coupons for my dress as there was still rationing,” said Val. “And then you only had the choice of two types of material.”

The cake proved to be less of a problem as, with family in Australia, the fruit was sent over from there.

After a two-week caravan holiday in Hern Bay and Ramsgate, the couple began married life in two rooms of a shared house in Croyden.

But with the arrival of daughter Helen in 1955, the family moved to a council flat back in South Norwood, and five years later they were blessed with the arrival of their son Martin.

When the children were a little older, Val went to work in an old people’s home and it wasn’t long before she ended up running it.

And Cyril would help out too – making the breakfasts before going off to his day job.

The couple started out with a 14-room home and then went on to a bigger house with 21 rooms.

“It was a good time and we enjoyed it,” added Val.

In 1989, Val and Cyril decided to move north to Lincolnshire to be nearer their daughter, who now had a family of her own and was living at Donington on Bain.

In no time at all, the couple had immersed themselves in village life, making lots of new friends as they joined in with a number of activities.

And even though the last few years have been challenging with health problems, the couple have continued to support each other in every way.

“Of course we have our arguments, but we always settle them the same day – never go to bed on an argument,” added Cyril.