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True love – almost 75 years together and a new chapter begins on Valentine’s Day

A couple who fell in love almost 75 years ago and went on to work for the Royal Family are celebrating Valentine’s Day by moving into their new NorseCare home.

Charles and Ivy Humphries, both 89, collect the keys to their apartment at Lloyd Court, High Kelling, today ready to begin the next chapter of their long and loving lives together.

Charles, a retired chauffeur to Prince Charles, and Ivy, a former receptionist for the Duchy of Cornwall, are overjoyed to become tenants at the housing with care scheme in North Norfolk.

“We are so looking forward to it – in fact, we are over the moon,” said Ivy, who was born near Long Stratton, in South Norfolk.

“Lloyd Court is run by such lovely people and they have made us feel so welcome.

“It is perfect for us because we will have our own place that we can decorate and make our own and yet the support is also there if we need it.”

Charles, who was born in London, moved to Norfolk with his family after the second world war. By sheer coincidence, his parents took on a smallholding once managed by Ivy’s family.

At the age of 15, the youngsters began attending film nights at Mulbarton Village Hall and discovered the connection they had with the farmland.

Before long, they fell in love and started courting.

“She was a lovely girl, who was beautiful, hardworking and sporty,” Charles remembered. “I knew she would make a wonderful wife.”

Ivy recalled: “He was very handsome and extremely caring. He always went out of his way to make me happy.”

The couple were eager to get married, but it wasn’t until the second time of asking Ivy’s father for her hand in marriage that Charles managed to persuade him to agree to the union.

“I think he was looking for someone wealthier and in a better position than I was at the time – but he eventually agreed, rather grudgingly!” he recalled.

Charles undertook his National Service in the army, which saw him stationed in Egypt, then the couple married on Boxing Day, 1953, at St Michael and All Angels Church, Flordon.

“It was the same year as the Queen’s Coronation,” Ivy remembered. “My father was a farmer and Boxing Day was the only day he didn’t have to go to the market!”

Charles then spent a decade working as a tractor salesman before signing up for a further 22 years in the army as a Staff Sargeant in the Royal Corps of Transport.

“We moved a lot during that period, spending 12 years in Germany,” Ivy explained. “It was a happy time.

“I had been concerned about it but we both enjoyed it very much. I ran the Wives Club and we had two of our three children while we were there.”

Charles and Ivy, whose children are Stephen, Sarah and David, returned to the UK and quickly found work with the Royal Family in London.

“Dad had an exemplary record from his time in the army,” said Sarah. “He held various roles for Prince Charles, including working as a chauffeur, and travelled a great deal with his work.

“Mum was employed in the office of the Duchy of Cornwall and they lived in the Royal Mews for 15 years.

“They are very particular about not discussing the details of their work during that time, but it is fair to say they are both extremely proud to have served the Royal Family as they did.”

Charles and Ivy, who now also have five grandchildren, Charlotte, 28, Alice, 25, Nicholas, 24, Jake, 18, and Alex, 17, retired 31 years ago.

They returned to Norfolk, living very happily in a cottage in Wereham before deciding to move to Lloyd Court.

“Of course, life has had its ups and downs, as it does for everybody,” said Charles. “But we have had a long and happy marriage because we understand there has to be give and take.”

Ivy added: “We have a strong relationship and we have different strengths. We look after each other and we still make each other laugh.

“We don’t usually tend to celebrate Valentine’s Day – when you love each other so much every day, it becomes less important – but we are very much looking forward to our move.”

Marie Quantrill, Manager of Lloyd Court, said she and her team were overjoyed to be welcoming Charles and Ivy today.

“They are such a wonderful, truly special couple,” she said. “They are real soulmates who still love, care and look out for each other after all this time together.

“We can’t wait for them to become tenants here and to join our Lloyd Court family.”

Part of the Norse Group, NorseCare is the largest care provider in Norfolk, delivering care and support to over 1,500 people in residential care homes and housing with care schemes.

Lloyd Court is a housing with care scheme, providing care and support to tenants who live in their own flat under a tenancy agreement with Broadland Housing.

Roy Slater, Regional Director of NorseCare, added: “I am really pleased that Mr and Mrs Humphries are ‘over the moon’ and can’t wait to move into Lloyd Court to begin another chapter in their lives, especially on Valentine’s Day.

“In my view, they couldn’t have picked a nicer place to live, set in lovely parkland, with lots of wildlife.

“Most importantly, however, the team are great: Marie and Diana, the Manager and Deputy, make sure everyone at Lloyd Court gets the best care available.

“Everyone is made to feel welcome and safe, there is a great atmosphere and lots of fun and laughter are always thrown in as well.”

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