Couple who married in secret celebrate diamond wedding anniversary

Dorothy and John Thorpe.
Dorothy and John Thorpe.

A loving couple who married in secret want to tell everyone about their diamond wedding anniversary.

When Dorothy and John Thorpe met and fell in love, her “formidable” father Oscar forbade them from tying the knot.

But the young lovebirds exchanged vows in a hush-hush ceremony at Chesterfield register office – and Oscar never found out.

Eighty-one-year-old Dorothy, of Somersall Park Road, Brampton, said: “My father was very nasty and violent – he was a formidable man.

“He said to me, ‘you’re not getting married before you’re 21 and not till John can provide a roof over your head’.

“But we got married in secret. I’d only just turned 21 and John still had to do his two years’ military service.

“We left the register office separately, not hand-in-hand, in case we were seen.”

As the years went by, Dorothy and John, 83, told family, friends and colleagues about their behind-closed-doors wedding – but Oscar was kept in the dark.

“Father never did know when we got married – he was never told in his lifetime,” said Dorothy.

“He assumed we’d got married at some point but he didn’t know the truth,” she added.

Dorothy worked at the Robinson’s factory in Chesterfield while John was a technician.

They have a daughter, Diane, and two granddaughters, Heather and Grace.

The dedicated couple celebrated 60 years of marriage with a family meal. They also received a special card from the Queen.

So what is their secret to a long and happy marriage?

Dorothy said: “Be with one another during the ups and downs of life.

“Respect each other – and stay true to your wedding vows.”