Aldeburgh: Platinum couple celebrate incredible 70 year anniversary

Roy and Agatha Cartwright are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. They met at the YMCA in Gi

Roy and Agatha Cartwright are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. They met at the YMCA in Gillingham during the war and have been together ever since. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk couple who could not wait to get married are celebrating an incredible 70 years of matrimony.

Roy and Agatha Cartwright are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. They met at the YMCA in Gi

Roy and Agatha Cartwright are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. They met at the YMCA in Gillingham during the war and have been together ever since. - Credit: Archant

Roy and Agatha Cartwright met on a Sunday afternoon in 1942, at the YMCA in Gillingham, Kent. A 23-year-old Agatha Whiteland was stationed with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) – the women’s branch of the British Army during the Second World War. Meanwhile, Mr Cartwright, then 20, was training as an engineer at nearby Chatham.

The pair began a period of courtship which led to marriage the following October. However, with just 14 days’ leave, the couple were unable to fix a date for the ceremony in Mrs Cartwright’s home town of Aldeburgh, and instead rushed to Mr Cartwright’s birthplace, Newcastle, where a wedding could be arranged. Mrs Cartwright, now 93, said: “There was no wedding dress and no reception. We stayed with his parents; his sister was my matron of honour and one of his friends was best man.”

Almost as soon as the couple were married, they were separated, as Mr Cartwright was posted first to Stranraer and then India, while Mrs Cartwright returned south to duties in the ATS, until demobilisation 14 months later.

Mr Cartwright would return the following year to join his wife on the barracks at Heaton, in Newcastle, before moving to Aldeburgh, where they would start a family of four sons, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


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Mr and Mrs Cartwright agreed there was no real secret to their long-lasting marriage, instead putting it down to a happy and contented life and love.

“I never thought we’d see 70 years,” said Mrs Cartwright. “It’s not easy to find an anniversary card for that many.”

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