There were tears of joy as long-term loves Roger and Doreen finally tied the knot in front of family and friends on Saturday.
It was a wedding that had been a long time coming - 44 years in fact - and one that made a ‘grumpy old man very happy’.
Roger Wilks met Doreen Fitzgerald when, as a delivery van driver, he would drop off parcels to the office where she worked.
It was love at first sight for the pair, despite Doreen being 15 years older and having six children when they met.
After a series of health scares that saw Roger almost lose Doreen twice, he decided to go with his heart instead of his head and marry the woman he’d loved for more than four decades.
The pair got hitched at The Azur, on St Leonards seafront, on Saturday, May 16.
Roger said: “What a day. All the pre-planning,secret meetings and phone calls came to fruition. My wife looked radiant on the arm of our eldest son Terry and as she walked down the aisle toward me and Michael, our youngest son and best man, the emotion got to us and the tears of joy began to flow. Our eldest daughter, Jackie, gave a lovely reading and remaining daughters Denise and Lesley were witnesses,making it a truly emotional family affair.
“Once the formalities were over, photos were taken in what was a gloriously sunny afternoon, and then we all went inside for a wedding meal of fish and chips. We did the speeches after – I just about managed to deliver my heartfelt words but Michael’s tribute to his mum and myself was a real tearjerker, not a dry eye in the place. It was a truly magical day.
“The whole day could not have gone better, even the sun came out to greet us, which we said was a present from our dear departed son Brian.”
Roger and Doreen had decided to marry over lunch one day but little did Doreen know, Roger was planning a surprise proposal on the wedding day.
He added: “I’d done everything else about the wedding traditionally but not the proposal - we’d sort of just agreed to get married over lunch.
“So, as a surprise, I got down on one knee during the ceremony to do a proper proposal like she’s always wanted.
“I didn’t get to say as much as I would have liked because I was so nervous, but it was important for me to do it.
“The registrar made the ceremony so personal. It was a perfect day and I want to say a big thank you to everyone, especially the new Mrs Wilks, who helped make a grumpy old man very happy.”