Parents of Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher make their own headlines after 60 years of marriage
- Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017
As the parents of a former England footballer, Leonard and Valerie Butcher are used to seeing their family in the press.
However, after celebrating 60 years of marriage, it is them making the headliners this time - not their famous son Terry.
The pair, whose diamond anniversary was on Thursday, August 17, met when they both were just eight, with their childhood homes just yards away.
Mr Butcher lived on St Aubyn’s Road in Lowestoft, while the future Mrs Butcher lived on the corner of this road at Carlton Road.
Both went to Lovewell Road school in South Lowestoft, but were in different classes, and it was not until the age of 15 that Mr Butcher had the courage to send her a Christmas card.
Even then, his future wife was not entirely struck, but after encouragement from her sister Sheila, she agreed to go out on date.
Their relationship blossomed and in 1956 they got engaged to be married - however, circumstance brought the big day around much quicker than planned.
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Mr Butcher, 81, said: “I was serving in the navy and an opportunity arose to be stationed in Singapore. However it was a married placement. So I phoned Valerie and within six weeks we were married.”
The pair wed at St Peter’s in Lowestoft, before that year moving to Singapore - first Mr Butcher, then his new wife three months later.
They spent three years there, during which time they would communicate with their families by posting tape recordings. This was how they also broke the news of the arrival of their first and only son, future England captain and Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher.
The pair returned to England in 1960, and soon had second child, Vanda, now 57.
From 1963 until 1991, Mr Butcher then worked as prison officer at Blundeston. Mrs Butcher had several jobs, including working as a careers advisor.
They now have five grandchildren, Christopher, Edward, Alistair, Samuel and Thomas.
Mrs Butcher, 80, said: “We still love each other, we are best friends and are always there for one another.”
Having had a big party for their 80th birthdays, the pair celebrated in low key fashion, with dinner out with family.