Inspirational Fenland couple toast diamond wedding anniversary after BOTH fight off leukaemia
PUBLISHED: 09:12 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 09:38 30 June 2011
IN 1986 Dordy Lea was told he had less than a year to live as he battled leukaemia. Twenty-five years later and the 85-year-old from March is celebrating 60 years of marriage with his wife Beryl, who has also fought off the disease.
The extraordinary couple toast their diamond wedding anniversary today, with celebrations to continue over the weekend.
Mr Lea made his miraculous recovery from leukaemia 20 years before his wife was also diagnosed with the disease. Mrs Lea is now in her final year of remission.
The inspirational pair have raised £25,000 for Leukaemia Research in around two decades of fundraising - much of which took place on the March market stall they used to run.
Mrs Lea, 83, said: “After they said Dordy only had a year to live we tried to make sure we gave him the best year we could - it turns out we’ve given him more than 20. We’ve been very lucky.
“It was a testing time and we retired when Dordy was diagnosed. We loved him a lot and we didn’t want him to go. We stayed with him in hospital and, with a mixture of the consultant’s help and Dordy’s own willpower, we got through it.”
The couple - who have one daughter and two grandchildren - are expecting around 90 people for an anniversary party on Saturday.
Mr Lea, a retired engineer, and Mrs Lea, a former accounts assistant, married on June 30 1951. They lived in Chatteris until 1987, when they moved to March to be closer to their daughter, Barbara.
Mrs Lea said: “We met when I was 16 at a dance in Chatteris. He even made a little poem up about it afterwards. We had a fling courtesy of Greene King because he’d had two or three pints of beer.
“We’ve had such a happy life that we want a few more years yet - after all, we’ve got to get the garden done!”