June and Russell Betts of Church Hill, Reepham, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on 19 July and received a special message from Her Majesty The Queen.
The couple (pictured), now both in their mid-90s, moved to the town in September 1952 as Mr Betts was assistant engineer at the Reepham depot of the Eastern Electricity Board, living at 7 Market Place (now known as “The Blue House”) for 30 years.
There they raised three children, with their spare time used to modify, repair and decorate the cottage.
Mr Betts then became first engineer, which meant being on night duty as well as working a normal day. When the children were young and he was not on nights, he would go to the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) talks that were held at the high school.
Mrs Betts was in the Reepham Red Cross, where she was on duty with the town’s own ambulance for about three years (there is a photo of her in the Reepham Archive).
She started a voluntary open youth club with the late Pamela Harvey, using three premises over some 16 years, lastly having raised funds to buy the old fire station/chapel on Dereham Road from the Gibbs family by holding jumble sales most Saturday mornings outside No. 7.
During that time, Mrs Betts qualified as a teacher and worked mostly in Norwich until she retired at the age of 58, while Mr Betts retired in 1988, age 60, having moved to their current home on Church Hill in 1981, where their spare time (again) was used to repair, modify and decorate the house, garages and garden.
In 1982, they attended town council meetings as members of the public and also the AGM of the Bircham Institute (now Bircham Centre), when Mrs Betts joined the trustees. A year or so later, Mr Betts joined as secretary, a post he held for some 16 years up to 2005.
Having been administrator, fundraiser, chair, treasurer and booking clerk over the years, Mrs Betts left the Bircham Centre in 2007, having started the “shop” with Moira and Bernard Dye and with the help of many other trustees over the years.
She was also involved with the Reepham Branch of the Women’s British Legion for three years as treasurer.
Mr Betts continues to regularly attend town council meetings.
Thanks to June Betts’ nephew Roland Pickett, who lives in Peterborough, for providing this information and his wife for the photos of the happy couple and royal message.