Alan and Sue Coe were just teenagers when their eyes first met at a dance at the Carlton Hotel in Newmarket High Street back in 1959.
The famous hotel may not have survived but the couple’s love for each other has and on Sunday, 50 years to the day they were married at the Cathedral Church of St James in Bury St Edmunds, they celebrated their golden wedding with family and friends at the Newmarket Avenue Bowls Club.
Born in a nursing home in Cardigan Street, Alan, now 75, has lived in Newmarket all his life. After leaving the former Newmarket Secondary Modern School he served a five year apprenticeship as an upholsterer with G Watson and Co then based in Church Lane. He then worked as a carpet fitter in Cambridge and at the former Ashfords store in Newmarket High Street before establishing the carpet business which bore his name.
Sue, now 72, was just 16 when the couple first met. She had already set her heart on going to London to train as a nurse and admitted her father, a Bury St Edmunds hairdresser, wasn’t too keen on the romance at the start. “I think he thought it might interfere with my plans to do my training,” she said. He need not have worried. After doing a pre-nursing course Sue headed off to the Royal Free Hospital in the capital where she spent three years training. She was later to work for a short time as a ward sister at Newmarket General Hospital before becoming a practice nurse at the Rookery Medical Centre.
She helped establish two new local practices, one in Mildenhall with Dr Adrian Hutton and another in Barrow where she spend 12 years before she retired at 60.
The couple, who now live in Downing Close, having moved from The Dip in Duchess Drive where they lived for 40 years, have a son Martin, who took over his father’s business, now called Coe Carpets Ltd, a daughter Melanie, who like her mother became a nurse, and works at Papworth Hospital, and three grandchildren,
During their retirement, Alan and Sue have travelled widely including a round-the-world trip which included 19 flights in six weeks.
But in the course of one of their trips, to China, Alan suffered a stroke and although he has made a good recovery, he and Sue are now staying closer to home where they enjoy playing bowls, walking, and ballroom dancing.
At Sunday’s celebration guests were treated to Newmarket sausages and mash and instead of gifts, the couple requested donations for prostate cancer which Alan is currently fighting.