Family is key to happiness for diamond couple Ken and Val

Val and Ken Keys, from St Ives, celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary,

Val and Ken Keys, from St Ives, celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, - Credit: Archant

A couple from St Ives are preparing to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Childhood sweethearts Ken and Val Keys, of Warren Road, met as teenagers in 1953, spending just four months together before Ken went abroad to Egypt with the RAF.

“My dad used to do some work for his mum as she had a pub and his girlfriend had actually stood him up, so his mum said he should come and meet me,” Val, who used to work in printing, said.

“I had chickenpox at the time, and I had spots and my mum had covered me in that violet cream.”

Undeterred though, a 21-year-old Ken popped the question soon after he came home, and the couple married in West Norwood, in London, on October 6, 1956.


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They lived in Cambridge and then London, with their first child, Jill, born in 1958, before uprooting to Germany for the RAF where their next daughter, Liz, was born.

The pair also have a son, Richard, and have lived all over the world because of Ken’s work, including Singapore, before heading back to Cambridgeshire and settling in St Ives in 1973.

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Asked what the secret is to their long marriage, Val said: “I think it’s the family. We are very lucky.”

Ken, 81, and Val, 79, have six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Granddaughter Natalie Smith, 32, said: “I’m similar to them – I met my husband when I was 14 so I’ve done 18 years already nearly. Hopefully I’ll be following in their footsteps.

“Even now they still look after the grandchildren as we all work – they’re a great nursery.”

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