Terry and Janet Norman are this week celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary quietly at their home in Caythorpe.
The couple have enjoyed a long and happy retirement – and after the exciting life they have had, they surely deserve it.
They were married at St John’s Church in Grantham on February 6, 1954, and within just a few months had started a new life in Nigeria.
Only weeks after they arrived, the country was plunged into civil war and the turmoil was a backdrop to the couple’s lives for years afterwards.
Terry, 83, was born in Grantham, the son of policeman Archie, and went to the King’s School.
A keen swimmer and water polo player with Grantham Swimming Club, at the age of 20 he won a 100-yard international swimming race at the Festival of Britain in London.
Janet was born in Kent and moved to Grantham when her father moved to work at Aveling Barford.
She went to the then Spittlegate Girls’ School.
The couple met when they both worked at Aveling Barford. Terry was an apprentice service engineer and soon after did his national service.
Serving his country gave him a taste for adventure, according to his wife, and that led to him securing the job as a service engineer for Caterpillar Tractors that took them to Africa.
Janet said: “We had no idea civil war was brewing. It was absolutely horrific.”
Terry’s work kept the couple in Africa for 25 years on and off, and although they had trips home, in Janet’s case she was twice flown home in more pressing circumstances when she had to be evacuated from the danger.
She said: “I was a man’s world and it could be very hard for the wives. I am a freelance writer and I started to do that then because I was so bored and terribly lonely.”
Later, the couple spent ime inGermany, when Terry was a service manager covering the Middle East, Africa and Russia, before finally “coming home” to enjoy a slower pace of life.
They still vistit friends in Germany and America, and Terry enjoys membership the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club and Sleaford Aviation Society.