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Friends and family celebrate a golden romance
6:00pm Tuesday 7th August 2012 in Oxford
IT is a romance that has spanned two countries and lasted more than 50 years.
John and Margaret Willemsen from Grove celebrated their golden wedding anniversary this weekend, surrounded by family and friends.
The couple met when Mrs Willemsen, nee Smith, visited the home town of her future husband in the Netherlands in 1959.
Mr Willemsen said: “She had a Dutch friend who had been over in Wantage and had said she knew someone who would like to write to Margaret to improve his English. So when Margaret came over to visit Holland, a young man went to introduce himself in person after exchanging letters.
“That man was me and the rest is history.”
Mr Willemsen, who trained as an accountant, came to live in Wantage and the couple were married at Grove Baptist Church on August 3, 1962.
The couple went on to have four children, Helen, Andrew, Jon and Sarah and now have 10 grandchildren.
They also spent four years volunteering in Romania and working with the poorest families there.
The 72-year-old said: “It has been a very happy marriage. We are both committed Christians and we felt we were meant for each other.”
Mrs Willemsen, 71, said: “Like all marriages we’ve had our ups and downs, but having the same sort of beliefs has helped us through.”
The couple celebrated at a party on Saturday with family and friends. Picture: OX53582 Denis Kennedy