A Kenilworth couple celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary on Friday December 11, marking 70 years of marriage.
Iris and Harry Elliott, both 92, tied the knot in December 1945 two years after they met during the Second World War at an army base in Chilwell, Nottingham, where they were both serving with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
We’ve always had a loving relationship and we’ve had quite a lot of happiness over the years. We’re still in love with each other.Harry Elliott
Soon after they met, Harry was posted abroad in India and was only able to marry Iris during a chance period of home leave, which the soldiers serving in Harry’s regiment had to draw lots for. After marrying Iris back home, he went away again and later served in Sri Lanka, Singapore and Burma.
When he finally returned to the UK, he met his eight-month-old daughter Christine, whom Iris had given birth to while he was away. Iris said: “He came home to a house he didn’t know and a baby he didn’t know.”
The couple moved from Mansfield to Kenilworth in 1958, and have remained there ever since. Throughout their time in the town they were prominent members of St John’s Church.
Harry worked in local government to begin with, and subsequently trained as a social worker, spending many years with Warwickshire Social Services until he retired in 1988.
He was a key figure in the foundation of the Waverley Day centre in Kenilworth. He also started the ‘Reading Books for the Blind’ scheme, as well as many other social initiatives in the town.
He said: “I had done a lot of voluntary social work for 12 years before I got a job as a social worker. I never had any worries or qualms about social work at all - it was a pleasure, not just a job for me.
Iris worked in various clerical jobs over the years, and particularly enjoyed her time as the clerk to the Chief Male Nurse at the old Central Hospital in Hatton.
When asked what the secret was to a long and happy marriage, Harry said: “Love and laughter. We’ve always had a loving relationship and we’ve had quite a lot of happiness over the years. We’re still in love with each other.”
Iris added: “We’ve never let the day pass without making up with each other after an argument. Our Christian faith has brought us through everything.”
Along with daughter Christine, Iris and Harry have a son, Michael. Michael had a twin brother, Stephen, who died in childhood.
They also have five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They celebrated their anniversary with a family gathering last Saturday (December 12).