It began with a bang!

THEIR relationship got off to an explosive start when a second world war bomb went off in Saffron Walden.

And nearly seven decades later the spark is still there for a couple who celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last week.

Alan and Audrey Peasgood have been at the heart of the community for more than 80 years and hail from two of the most well-known families in the town.

The couple, of Farmadine, were born and bred in Saffron Walden and met when Audrey’s aunt’s house was badly damaged by a bomb which fell on land near where the Lord Butler Leisure Centre stands, in Peaslands Road.

Alan, who was 16 at the time, rushed to help repair the ceiling of the house as an apprentice for his father on September 16, 1944 – and it was there he first caught Audrey’s eye.

“I remember looking at him and thinking ‘He’s nice’, but it wasn’t until two years later that I actually spoke to him at a friend’s party,” she told the Reporter.

“We played a game similar to musical chairs where you had to move around and ended up sitting on somebody’s lap – Alan chose me as his partner and we started talking.

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“After the party he walked me home and asked me out for a date. We went to the pictures and it went from there. Alan was very charming. We also used to go out and meet up on with friends on the Common and go to dances in the town hall.”

The pair both grew up in family businesses – Audrey’s father owned Gillett’s grocers, which was based in Cross Street, while Alan worked for Peasgood & Sons funeral directors and builders.

They married at St Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden, on September 20, 1952, and celebrated their 60th anniversary at a party in the URC Hall in Abbey Lane last Thursday.

Alan, who turned 84 on Friday, said it had been a lovely evening which had been arranged perfectly by the couple’s three daughters and nine grandchildren.

“It was great to see so many friends and neighbours turn out for the occasion,” he said.

“You could say our relationship started with a bang, although I wasn’t conscious of it at the time.

“I think the mutual respect we have for one another has been the key to our marriage more than anything, while both coming from hard-working families with jobs that were not just 9-5 – I had to be available 24/7, 365 days of the year – helped, too.”

Audrey, 82, said: “We just really love one another. We don’t always agree on things but that is just the way it is.”