Suffolk

Beccles couple to marry after 33-year romance

Bob Whittle and Vera Lawrence
Image caption Bob Whittle and Vera Lawrence are tying the knot after a 33-year relationship

A couple with a combined age of 177 are getting married in Beccles, north Suffolk, on New Year's Day.

Vera Lawrence, 93, and Bob Whittle, 84, have been together for 33 years, having first met playing bowls.

Mr Whittle said: "I fell in love with her the first day I saw her at the bowls hall - we knew instantly that we were a pair."

Ms Lawrence said: "I think I proposed - I said 'shall we get married and put things straight', he said why not?"

They had planned a small ceremony but the couple said interest in their nuptials has "snowballed" and they do not know what to expect when they meet at St Luke's Church on Sunday.

Ms Lawrence said recent health problems led to their decision to marry. The couple are not planning a honeymoon.

Reverend John Beauchamp, who will lead the service, said: "They are a wonderfully happy couple.

"It was only five weeks ago that I had the phone call - I had to laugh as Bob and Vera said 'we're sorry we want to arrange it so quickly', to which my response could be 'I don't think 33 years is that quick'."