Axminster couple celebrate platinum wedding

PUBLISHED: 15:02 26 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:03 26 August 2015

Don and Jean Lee with their son Chris holding a photo of their wedding day 70 years ago. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Don and Jean Lee with their son Chris holding a photo of their wedding day 70 years ago. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

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The Queen congratulates Don and Jean on 70 years of happy marriage

Don and Jean Lee's wedding day 70 years agoDon and Jean Lee's wedding day 70 years ago

Romance ignited across the bunson burners for two young chemists – and the flame still glows brightly for an Axminster couple who celebrated 70 years of marriage last week.

A card signed by The Queen was among the many messages of congratulations Don and Jean Lee received to mark their platinum wedding anniversary.

The couple met in the laboratory when they were both budding chemists, working as metallurgists. But the outbreak of war was soon to send them on different paths.

Don, 90, had to forgo his place to study chemistry at university and joined the RAF, learning to fly in the USA.

The conflict had ended when he completed his training, but in 1945, following his marriage to Jean, he was posted to the Far East, where he piloted flying boats for the air-sea rescue unit.

After his service years, Birmingham-born Don held several senior posts, first in the agricultural and then the automotive industry, spending much of his time travelling overseas.

Jean, 89, who comes from Aylesbury, gave up her work as a metallurgist to bring up the couple’s three children and then devoted her time to developing a booming tourist business, converting properties the couple bought across Wales and the West Country into guest houses.

The last was the stunning Check House at Seaton, now a nursing home.

Both remain active and Don plays golf twice a week at Axe Cliff.

Giving her advice for a long and happy marriage, Jean said: “It’s tolerance - he puts up with me and I put up with him!

“And we have a very supportive family.”

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