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'Love and lots of holiday' - Norfolk couple's secret to 70 years of marriage

PUBLISHED: 16:19 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 13 November 2019

Ella, 91, and John Lister, 100, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary at Thorp House Nursing Home at Griston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ella, 91, and John Lister, 100, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary at Thorp House Nursing Home at Griston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

A globe-trotting couple have described the secret to their 70-year marriage as "love and lots of holidays".

John and Ella Lister, aged 100 and 91, are set to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with friends and family on Tuesday November 12 at their care home in Griston. Photo: Courtesy of Stephen PullingerJohn and Ella Lister, aged 100 and 91, are set to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with friends and family on Tuesday November 12 at their care home in Griston. Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Pullinger

John Lister, 100, first set eyes on his future wife, Ella Lister, 91, when he was a teenager when she regularly walked to his family farm in Deopham to buy milk.

Those brief encounters led to their first proper date at the long-since-closed Half Moon, a village pub the couple later went on to run.

Mrs Lister said love gradually blossomed and they "grew together" which led to their wedding that took place on November 12, 1949, at Deopham church.

The couple fondly looked back on those post-war days as they celebrated their platinum anniversary with their friends and family, including Mr Lister's brother Robert, 92, at Thorp House nursing home in Griston, where they have lived since September.

John and Ella Lister married in Deopham, 1949, and will soon celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Photo: Courtesy of Stephen PullingerJohn and Ella Lister married in Deopham, 1949, and will soon celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Pullinger

Mr Lister was called to serve in the 72nd Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, and joined the war in Normandy after D-Day. When he returned he worked on his father's farm.

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In the mid-1950s, the couple took over the Half Moon, running the pub successfully for several years until the brewery closed it.

Mr Lister then worked at Norfolk Agricultural Station, an experimental farm in nearby Morley, for more than 25 years.

He is proud to recall that over a two-year period he spent weekends building a bungalow, on The Green, Deopham, with the help of his brothers and in 1961 they finally moved in.

Mr and Mrs Lister have always had a passion for gardening and Mr Lister is a lifelong Norwich City fan.

He said: "I loved going to lots of games over the years and I still listen to the commentary on Radio Norfolk every Saturday."

When asked what the key was to their long, happy relationship, Mr Lister said: "Love and lots of holidays together."

The couple, who never had children, have previously visited Mr Lister's brother, Ted, 88, in New South Wales, Australia and travelled to the US as well as holidaying in every part of the UK.

Mrs Lister added: "At weekends we also enjoyed driving miles to try different pubs across the region."

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