A 72nd wedding anniversary was a steaming success, as a couple married during the perils of war, took a ride on the Leighton Buzzard Railway to celebrate in style.
91-year-old Derek and Margaret Plumb, of Copper Beech Way, marked an incredible 72 years together by inviting family for a very special train ride, complete with a smart headboard to inform passers-by of the occasion.
The couple, who met in their early teens while at school in Sheffield and moved to Leighton Buzzard in the 1970s, had their wedding anniversary on Friday, September 25. The lucky pair then chose a train ride as the perfect way to celebrate on Sunday, having journeyed to Colwyn Bay via steam engine for their honeymoon in 1943.
Derek’s son, Geoff, 66, said: “Family arrived from Yorkshire, Cheshire, Berkshire, Bucks and Beds, and some 18 of us enjoyed a trip from Page’s Park to Stonehenge Works and back. The railway volunteers had pulled out all the stops to accommodate us. The weather was glorious, and the train puffed along with the whistle blowing for the level-crossings. Everyone was smiling and having a good time!”
Aged only 19, Derek and Margaret were married in 1943 at Christ Church, Hollinsend Road, Gleadless, and have since lived an adventurous life.
“My parents were immediately separated after their honeymoon, because of the war,” explains Geoff. “My father trained in the Royal Engineers, spending time in Kirkby Lonsdale, and Longmoor Military Railway, among other places. He was involved in building refrigeration test trains and went to India from 1945-7. He developed one in Jhansi, enjoying riding many ‘locos’.
“Meanwhile, my mum was a Land Girl, working in Hereford and Loughborough. She gave birth to my older sister in 1945 while my dad was away, so he didn’t meet his daughter until he came home two years later!”
After the war, Derek was involved in heating and ventilation, including projects for the British Library and Euston Station, while he also helped build a hospital in Amman, Jordan, around 1972-3.
The couple even lived in Antwerp for two years during the 1980s, with Derek developing accommodation for North Sea oil rig employees.
Margaret has been equally busy, raising the couple’s four children and later working for Spencer Corsets, Banbury, doing medical fittings. She also founded the Leighton Buzzard WI, along with daughter-in-law Pam. The couple have four grandchildren and two great grandchildren, receiving the “usual” card from the Queen to mark another landmark anniversary!