Sudbury: From wartime wedding to 70th anniversary joy

Jennie and William Hardington celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary in Sudbury.

Jennie and William Hardington celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary in Sudbury. - Credit: Archant

The wedding day of William and Jennie Hardington was a low-key wartime affair, which took place on a snatched day’s leave from the groom’s duties in the Royal Navy.

Jennie and William Hardington on their wedding day

Jennie and William Hardington on their wedding day - Credit: Archant

The marriage by contrast has been a long and enduring love affair between the sailor-turned-electrical engineer and his young bride, whom he met at an engagement party on December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.

Mr Hardington, 90, recalled: “We just got on straight away. I asked her out the next day and it went from there. We have been inseparable ever since.”

Their first date was to a London cinema and the couple spent most of their courtship travelling around on a tandem – perhaps an early sign of the teamwork which has kept their marriage strong for the past 70 years.

They tied the knot in east London on October 31, 1943 and will celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary at their Sudbury home in Weaver’s Lane next week.

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Looking back at the big day, Mrs Hardington, 89, recalled: “Because we got married during the war, Bill had to apply for leave from the Navy and we had to get special permission to marry on a Sunday. We didn’t even have any flowers because the florists all had to put their efforts into growing vegetables to keep us all fed.”

Mrs Hardington left her job at the Eveready batteries factory soon after the war ended and the couple had their three children. They now also have five grandchildren and one great grandson, Oliver.

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Although Mr Hardington describes himself as “outgoing” while his wife is more of a “shrinking violet”, he believes “sharing everything” has been the key to their partnership.

Mrs Hardington added: “I can’t pick out any particular highlights of our marriage because it’s all been good. We have been very lucky.”

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