Cromer couple’s Valentine’s joy is sealed with some gifts

He is not fond of romantic gestures, but prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.

But Brian Thomas might be having a rethink after he was on the receiving end of a very public gesture of affection from his adoring wife Donna.

Mr Thomas was the lucky winner of the North Norfolk News/Budgen's Valentine's competition, after his wife secretly sent in a letter outlining why her 'best friend' deserved the accolade.

And last Saturday evening they were set to enjoy the fruits of the contest, which comprised a bottle of Champagne, a box of chocolates and a bunch of flowers.

As the couple received their prize from Heather Cox, customer services manager at Budgen's in Cromer, Mrs Thomas told why her husband was a worthy winner.

She said: 'Because I love him. He's always there for us. He has always supported us and we have done the same for him.'

She added: 'He's my best friend. I'm able to talk to him and tell him things. He's a good dad and a really good granddad. The grandchildren invite themselves round to spend time with him and he goes to pick them up from school.'

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The couple have four sons, Daniel, Ben, Terry and Scott, and grandchildren. Their Mill Road house is often full of relatives, with two of their sons living close by.

Mr Thomas has been forced to take almost a year off from his job as a long-distance lorry driver because he has throat cancer.

But he said: 'I had a scan before Christmas and they think they have got it all. Hopefully I should be in remission for five years, and then get the all-clear.'

Mrs Thomas told how her mother, Yvonne Wiseman, was also battling cancer, and Mr Thomas put his own battle aside to drive her to and from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital once a fortnight.

Despite being the competition winner, Mr Thomas admitted he didn't really 'go in for these romantic gestures'.

Mrs Thomas said: 'I always buy him a Valentine's card, but I don't usually get one. I did get one this year - but I don't know who from.'

The couple - who lived at Aylmerton and Aldborough before moving to Cromer in 1995 - have been married for 28 years, having met in 1981 while roller-skating at the old West Runton Pavilion. They married on Mrs Thomas's 21st birthday.