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Valentine's Day sweethearts celebrate 60 years of marriage
A couple who met at a dance in Watford Town Hall are still dancing more than 60 years on as they toast their diamond wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day.
Barbara and Norman Pearson lived in Shire Lane, Chorleywood, for 40 years before moving to Denham Garden Village five years ago.
They met at the dance in 1951 while Darlington-born Norman was on leave from the army.
Mr Pearson wrote for the Watford Observer’s nostalgia column in 2010 about his memories of serving with 23F squadron ATC and growing up in wartime Watford.
Reflecting on the milestone, he said: "It always used to be old people that had these sorts of celebrations but we both still feel young.
"It was a regular Saturday night dance where we met and we still dance today.
"I hadn’t heard of Valentine's Day before we got married, I think my wife had heard of it but we married as soon as possible to get a tax rebate.
"Everyone wanted to get married before April 1 so we took the first day we could get, but it’s very nice now to be able to celebrate on Valentine’s Day.
"Quite often when we go to dances that comes up in conversation."
After marrying, the couple moved to Rickmansworth where Mr Pearson, a builder who learned his trade rebuilding bombed out homes in The Harebreaks, built their home.
However a few years later an estate agent recommended a plot of land in Shire Lane where he was able to build the home they shared for 40 years.
He said: "Being a builder I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a plot of land and build the house in my spare time.
"We had a couple of children and then built a rather nice property in Chorleywood.
"The only reason for leaving it was having built it I couldn’t be there and let someone else do work on it, it had a huge garden with a huge hedge and I was fine to let someone do that but not the house."
The couple, who have four grandchildren, will celebrate on this evening by enjoying a meal in Old Amersham with their son Martin and daughter Julie.
Asked what the secret to a happy marriage is, Mr Pearson said: "There are two secrets really, one is to stay alive and the other is to be able to have a full and frank exchange of views otherwise known as an argument. That stops you turning into a zombie."