Surprise stay in Sidmouth for diamond couple

Sidmouth honeymooners in 1951 treated to luxury weekend at town’s Victoria Hotel for diamond anniversary

A COUPLE, who honeymooned in Sidmouth 60 years ago, enjoyed a surprise weekend at the Victoria Hotel to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Ken and Irene Walpole, who live in Exeter, celebrated their anniversary last Thursday with family who had flown from across the globe to be with them.

After lunch at Buckerell Lodge Hotel, Exeter, for 21 friends and family, they were given a voucher to enjoy two nights’ stay at the upmarket Sidmouth hotel. They were taxied there and back by Keith Adamson of The Green Taxi Company.

“It was fabulous,” said Irene, 83. “We were very well looked after and had lovely food.

“We are so grateful for this surprise present from our children. We told them we didn’t want anything that was going to take up space.”

The couple, who have lived in Exeter for 23 years, had their honeymoon at their aunt’s house in Sidmouth.

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Irene said: “It used to be a priory and she was in the US and said we were welcome to use her house for our honeymoon. She had a housekeeper, so we were very well looked after.”

Eldest son Peter, his wife Mary and children Catriona and Simon travelled from Virginia Beach, US, for the diamond celebrations, while their daughter Lois and son-in-law John came over from France.

Youngest son Robert lives in Exeter but the couple’s niece, Rita Huntley, came from Spain to join the celebrations.

She said: “My uncle was in the Army all of his life and the Victoria Hotel used to be used as a hospital during the war.”

A mutual friend introduced them and they married in Aldershot.

As a Lieutenant Colonel, Ken, 84, and his wife travelled widely, including the US, Singapore and Germany.