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Benfleet couple celebrate diamond anniversary after secret wedding 60 years ago
2:20pm Monday 18th March 2013 in News
MOST girls dream of a white wedding with all eyes on them, but for Madge Giles her big day was a big secret.
On the day she married her husband Jim 60 years ago on March 14 there was no white dress, no cake, no photographer and no guests.
Madge met Jim at East Ham Registry Office after he finished a night shift at Standard Telephones, in Woolwich, which is where they met aged 21 just six months before.
Neither their parents or families knew they were planning to tie the knot.
Madge said: “It’s the only thing I would have wanted, I don’t like a lot of fuss.
“We got married at 9.20am straight after Jim finished work, they said they couldn’t fit us in otherwise. I did think to myself at the time I hoped we weren’t making a mistake because we would have to be married for three years before we could get a divorce, but 57 years later we’re still together.”
The couple, both 81, of Crescent Road, Benfleet, got married quickly, not because they “had to” as Madge was asked by her father, but to get an income tax rebate, which they were entitled to if they got married before the end of the financial year in April.
After the ceremony, accompanied by two of Jim’s friends who were their witnesses, the couple went to Romford for a celebratory drink. They then told their parents a week later, in the meantime Madge wore her wedding ring around her neck.
They had four children, Janette, 59, Jimmy, 57, John, 56 and Ann, 51. They also have eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Madge added: “I wouldn’t have anybody else, I wouldn’t change him.
“We’ve had our ups and downs, but the children have always been good and kept us together. We’re just compatible to each other.”
Her youngster daughter Ann said: “It’s just fantastic, there’s not many people that get to 60 years. They have just been the best mum and dad, they’ve always done everything for us and given all the love we need, we love them so much.”