Couple who lived in Colchester outskirts for almost half a century celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary

Janet and John Runnacles celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club.
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Janet and John Runnacles celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

A couple who lived in Great Horkesley, near Colchester, for almost 50 years have this week celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Janet and John Runnacles celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club.
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Janet and John Runnacles celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

John and Janet Runnacles held an afternoon tea party at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, near to where they now live, and were joined by some 60 friends and family to help mark their special day.

The couple wed on August 17, 1957, after meeting in Mrs Runnacles’ hometown of Wokingham when she was just 17-years-old.

Mr Runnacles, 87, who is originally from Ipswich, was completing his National Service at the time, but the pair stayed in touch when he started a career with the Eastern Electricity Board and she went to study teaching in Cambridge.

In 1953, they became engaged and married in Milton Road, Wokingham.

Janet and John Runnacles celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club.
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Janet and John Runnacles celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

“We both share the same faith and have the same interests,” Mrs Runnacles, 82, said.

“He proposed one evening when we had gone out on his motorcycle. It was a Royal Enfield.”

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The couple, who both worked in Colchester, went on to have three children – Susan Strachan, 58, Dr Alison Shine, 57, and Katherine Chyc, 54.

They were also known for hosting overseas university students, and their daughter, Mrs Strachan, reckons the couple has entertained people from more than 50 countries.

Mrs Runnacles said: “We invited students to our home because one of the things they loved was to visit an English home. They came from all over the world, especially China, Hong Kong, the Middle East and Iran.”

The couple also spent decades sending relief parcels across the world.

She added: “We had a room known as the packing room. People brought stuff to us and we would send it off. I think from a small child I was always interested in missionaries and loved to hear stories from people from abroad.”

Asked what the secret is to a 60-year marriage, Mrs Runnacles said: “It’s being willing to give and take, being willing to say sorry, and being able to forgive and being able to laugh.”

Mrs Strachan added: “I’m very proud of them and they are an amazing example of complete commitment and selfless love and everything a marriage should be.”

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