ON the morning of August 23, 1958, Norma Donkin was preparing for her wedding just like any bride-to-be. But unlike many others, the 19-year-old had no idea if her fiancé Brian would make it to the big day.
The pair had been due to marry three weeks earlier, but Mr Donkin had not been able to get home from Cyprus, where he was on National Service. The same had happened when their nuptials were rescheduled for August 16.
But it was third time lucky on August 23, as Mrs Donkin met her husband to be at Burton Railway Station just hours before they were due to tie the knot.
“There were a lot of emotions, but when I saw him step off the train I thought it had all been worthwhile. I was elated,” Mrs Donkin, 74, told the Mail.
Mr Donkin had been posted out to Cyprus two months before they were due to marry, but the pair had been assured he would be able to return for the wedding.
Preparations were made and everything was in place for their planned date on August 2, but the day came and went with no groom.
The couple were unable to communicate with one another, but work immediately started to try and rearrange the big day. Once again, they were assured he would be there for the date, on August 16, but again, he did not arrive.
With the help of MP John Jennings and Mr Donkin’s commanding officer, the situation was finally resolved, and Mrs Donkin was told her husband-to-be would be able to come home on August 23 – but she had to find £60 to pay the air fare. Various members of the family chipped in, and she put in the money they had saved for their honeymoon in Blackpool. After raising the money, Mr Donkin travelled more than 2,000 miles for his big day.
When he stepped off the train at 1.15pm, he was rushed to a tailors in Burton to get ready for the wedding and they finally said their vows at 3pm.
Mrs Donkin, of Hunter Street, Burton, said: “It’s the best £60 I’ve ever spent. I love him to bits and wouldn’t change him for the world. He was worth all the hassle.”
The pair celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary tomorrow, but they do not yet know how they are going to mark the occasion.