Our spur-of-the-moment marriage has lasted 60 years: Hull couple Bernard and Doreen Wymark celebrate diamond wedding
PLANNING the perfect wedding is something brides-to-be are consumed by months before the big day.
But, for one Hull couple, it was a spur-of-the-moment decision amid the rigmarole of unpredictable life in the Royal Navy.
Now, after 60 years of marriage, Bernard and Doreen Wymark, of Clifford Avenue, east Hull, have celebrated their diamond wedding surrounded by their family.
Bernard and Doreen tied the knot when Bernard arrived back home from sea unexpectedly on January 3, 1953.
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Idyllic plans Doreen had in her mind were cast aside and the couple married at Holy Trinity Church in Hull seven days later.
Bernard, 80, said: "I arrived home unannounced on 14 days' embarkation leave to join the Mediterranean fleet for a two-and-a-half year deployment, flying out at the end of January.
"This came very unexpectedly, with no time to let anyone know and with no time to write.
"We didn't have telephones at that time so there was no way of informing anyone."
The couple had planned to get married a year later when they had more time to organise their big day but, with time running out, they got married on Saturday, January 10.
Doreen's dream day had come around far sooner than she had envisaged, so she rallied family and friends to help her get the wedding day wheels in motion.
Doreen, 83, said: "It came as quite a surprise to me when Bernard arrived home.
"Many of our relatives and friends were not to happy with us that we had arranged the wedding with such short notice and on the same day Hull City were playing Manchester United in an FA Cup.
"However, marry we did."
With the prospect of being apart for two-and-a-half years so soon after devoting themselves to each other, the happy couple went to York for a few days' honeymoon before Bernard returned to his barracks on January 17.
Ten days later, he flew out to Malta to join HMS Chevron in the Mediterranean fleet.
Bernard was embroiled in growing Suez Crisis but, after ten months and in the middle of his service, his thoughts were turning to the love of his life back in Hull when he received some welcome news.
He said: "The Admiralty decided that a two-and-a-half-year deployment was far too long for a person to be separated from their families, plus, they allowed wives, where possible, to join their husbands while in deployment."
After learning of the decision, Doreen hot-footed her way to Malta to be reunited with Bernard.
Trading the comforts of home for the uncertainty of life in a new country was not how Doreen had envisaged spending the first year of marriage.
"My new home was a small flat in Msida in the house of a Maltese family," she said.
"One cold water tap and cooking on a primus stove was my introduction to married life. However, I soon became used to that and made friends with other Naval wives."
Doreen spent a year in Malta, during which the Queen and her family visited the foreign shores, before returning to the UK.
After a whirlwind beginning to marriage, you could be forgiven for expecting the past six decades to follow a similar path but the life the couple craved soon became reality.
"The next 59 years seem to have disappeared in a flash with many happy memories," said Doreen.
"Two children and three grandchildren are now our main focus in life."