Wedding bells ring for Fenland octogenarians who got engaged on Valentine’s Day

OLD romantics from March have tied the knot today after meeting over a cup of tea a year ago.

Joe and Kath Hampson, both 83, were married at Audmoor House Register Office in front of 21 friends and family after getting engaged on Valentine’s Day this year.

The newly-married couple, of Elliott Lodge care home, went to the Griffin in March to celebrate their ceremony with a meal and drinks, and they plan to go to Lowestoft for their honeymoon later this month.

Mr Hampson said after today’s service: “When I came to Elliott Lodge over a year ago, I had no idea that this would happen.”

Mrs Hampson, who moved to the retirement home 13 years ago, said: “We decided to get married because we enjoy the companionship.”

They entered the Register Office to Elton John’s Your Song, sung by Kath’s great great grandson Dayne Moore.

Dayne, 21, said: “It shows that if you find true love, make it work. No matter how old you are, you can still dream.”

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Mr Hampson’s son David was best man and said: “He (Mr Hampson) is an old romantic, I’m very happy for them and wish them all the best for the future.”

Mr Hampson moved to Elliott Lodge in February 2009 but was ready to pack his bags and leave a few months later. However, he changed his plans when he met Mrs Hampson after being invited into her room for a cup of tea.

Mr Hampson said: “One day I was walking down the corridor and there were a couple of people stood outside number 40 (Mrs Hampson’s flat). They greeted me by saying ‘you miserable looking bugger what is wrong with you? Come in and have a cup of tea’.

“That’s where it started and it hasn’t stopped since.”

Both had lived alone for 20 years, but Mr Hampson’s daughter suggested they start to eat together.

Mrs Hampson said: “Joe sometimes came downstairs to my flat and sometimes I went upstairs to have dinner at his. Gradually, I stayed at Joe’s more, rather than coming back to my flat.”

The couple got engaged on Valentine’s Day but kept their announcement a secret from fellow residents. On Valentine’s Day, a Sunday, when residents usually enjoy a cup of tea and a chat, they were greeted with champagne and balloons to celebrate Mr and Mrs Hampson’s engagement.

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