Sidmouth couple find love after loss

The newly married Cliff and Anne Jones

The newly married Cliff and Anne Jones - Credit: Archant

A COUPLE who found love after loss turned down traditional wedding day gifts to benefit a charity striving to find a cure for cancer.

Former Blue Bell dancer Anne Watkins, 76, and Cliff Jones, 75, met at a bereavement support group after cancer claimed the lives of loved ones.

Eschewing gifts, they asked their guests for donations to Cancer Research UK, which amounted to around £200.

“We had a really lovely day,” said Anne. “Everything went beautifully.”

She met her new husband at a bereavement support group after the death of her daughter, Hayley, and Cliff’s wife, Eileen.

They became good friends, but when Anne’s first husband died, their relationship changed.

“I had always wanted to retire to Sidmouth, and Cliff told me he wasn’t going to let me go on my own,” said the Woolbrook Park resident.

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“We gave it a little while then decided to quietly remarry.”

The day was a dual celebration, as the Hodgkin’s lymphoma that Hayley suffered from was spotted in Anne’s granddaughter Holly in time for treatment.

The 16-year-old has since recovered and she has been treated to trip to New York to celebrate.

Her grandmother spent her youth as one of the Blue Bell dancers, and one of John Tiller’s girls, a job that took her around the world.

She saw post-revolution Argentina and danced at the London Palladium and on the Champs-Élysées, before returning to the UK and settling down.

Cliff moved with Anne from South Wales, and now works with Sidmouth Hospiscare as a bereavement counsellor.

The couple thanked the Victoria Hotel, especially deputy manager Duncan Henshall.

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