Diamond wedding couple married in Germany set to celebrate 60 years together with a cruise on the River Danube
PUBLISHED: 16:37 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 18:14 11 November 2018
When former Sheringham mayor Noel Gant got chatting to his future wife Margrit at a dance in Germany in 1956, he says he knew immediately that she was "the one".
And, in a few weeks’ time, the couple will return to the country where they met to celebrate 60 years of marriage with a cruise down the River Danube.
Sheringham-born Mr Gant, who trained as an RAF pilot after leaving Paston Grammar School aged 17, met Margrit after being posted to the German town of Celle, where she was training as a nurse in a baby clinic.
“We had a dance, and that was it - I thought this was the lady I was going to marry,” Mr Gant said.
After tying the knot in Margrit’s home town of Langlingen on November 20, 1958, the couple moved again when Mr Gant was posted to Geilenkirchen, in southern Germany.
He was then offered the chance to retrain as an RAF physiotherapist in Yorkshihre and, following a stint working at a services rehabilitation centre in Surrey, retired from the RAF in 1979 to take up the job of community physiotherapist for north Norfolk.
After giving up full-time work in 1998, Mr Gant threw himself into community life, taking on the role of administrator for Sheringham community centre and joining the town council in 2000.
He has been joint president of north Norfolk’s Crab and Lobster Festival with former Cromer mayor Hilary Cox since the event was first held in 2001, and he and Mrs Gant became familiar faces in the town when he was made mayor in 2007.
Former county running champion Mr Gant, 80, has had to take life a little easier since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago, but still enjoys his long-standing hobbies of fishing and landscape painting and is ticking off a ‘bucket list’ of things to do, including getting his first tattoo – which he achieved at the age of 78 - and taking a trip to the Hartz mountains, in northern Germany.
Mr and Mrs Gant will be celebrating at home, before heading off to Germany with daughters Bettina and Jeanette and other family members.
They said the secret of a long and happy marriage was “not too many arguments”.
“Quite simply, Noel is the nicest person in the world, he is just lovely,” Mrs Gant, 83, added.