Diamond wedding celebration for Ely couple

ELY couple Betty and Eric Coleman celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last week with a family party.

Betty and Eric were young sweethearts, and were still teenagers when they married in Stockport, when Eric had a 36-hour leave from his national service with the RAF.

Eric remembers: “Betty had to organise everything, because I was away from home. I had to get permission from my Commanding Officer to get married.”

Daughter Debbie added: “They are in love as much today as they were on their wedding day; Dad still sits by Mum every day and holds her hand, and tells her that he loves her.”

The couple had four children; Judith, who died after suffering from cancer; Peter who lives in France, Dennis who lives in Cambridge; and their younger daughter Debbie normally lives in France but is planning a return to the UK. They have nine grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.

During much of their married life, Eric worked in the motor industry for Ford and Volvo; and the couple spent several years in the Middle East. For five years they lived in Saudi Arabia where Eric was general manager for Volvo, and he also spent time working in Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar.

“My job was to set up dealer networks and in Oman we did a lot of business with the Sultan, providing cars for his wives and the military,” said Eric, who is now his wife’s carer.

Most Read

Eric, 78, and Betty, 79, moved to Ely about 40 years ago, when Eric took a job in Cambridge; and when he moved on to Dagenham Motors, he travelled daily into London on the train.

After he retired, Eric worked part time for various estate agents. At one time Betty worked for Chivers in Histon and she was still working as a cleaner at St Mary’s Surgery and the Argos store in the city when she suffered a stroke three years ago.