John Searle and Maggie Crook

PUBLISHED: 14:32 29 May 2009 | UPDATED: 11:05 10 June 2010

Ref: P6243-22-09SH

Ref: P6243-22-09SH

ALL good things come to those who wait - as Exmouth childhood sweethearts John Searle and Maggie Crook proved when they wed yesterday after waiting more than 50 years to tie the knot.

ALL good things come to those who wait - as Exmouth childhood sweethearts John Searle and Maggie Crook proved when they wed yesterday after waiting more than 50 years to tie the knot.

Bride Maggie Crook, of Marley Hayes, was just 13 when, in 1952, she first set eyes on John. They met at a lifesaving club held at Exmouth's long-closed seafront swimming pool.

The pair became engaged at 18, but they spilt up before they could name the day after their careers caused them to drift apart.

Yesterday, Maggie and John, both 69, proved love can survive the test of time when they put the seal on their feelings, marrying more than five decades after the original wedding proposal.

The couple married at Point in View Church, near A la Ronde, in front of delighted family and friends.

But there was a last-minute hitch - John had a puncture on the way to the church.

John said: "Being married to Maggie is going to be very nice. We are happy together.

Maggie said: "It's all been very easy. We knew each other's family from before. It's one of those nice relationships. It's very simple."

The young teenage couple split up when Maggie's nurse training took her away from the area, while John was called away on national service with the Royal Marines.

Though Maggie never married, John wed twice and, four years ago, he was widowed. But the pair never forgot each other and remained in touch throughout the years.

Two years ago, they rekindled their love and revived their wedding plans.

Father-of-four John, who has a home in Lincoln and family in Exmouth, said: "We were at school together at Exmouth Grammar School and we had lots of common interests. She was a Girl Guide and I was a Sea Scout. We were both members of St John Ambulance and in the church youth club.

"We had an 18-month to two-year engagement and she went off to do her nurse training, while I did national service in the Royal Marines.

"I suppose the distance meant we drifted apart and it just sort of stopped. There wasn't any ill-feeling.

"I was a bit disappointed it happened. Maggie went off to Canada nursing and, when I came out of the forces, I got a job that took me all over the country in retail.

"We kept in touch through Christmas cards and we got back together two years ago.


I read about the marriage of John & Maggie in the Daily Telegraph. What a lovely surprise! I was a friend of John and his family when I was at Rolle College Exmouth 1958-60 when I was involved with youth work. I can't remember whether I met Mggie, but heard lots about her and knew that she was training to be a nurse. So like John, my long standing boyfriend was away doing his national service.(as it happened when he returned things just didn't work out). The whole Searle family were so kind to me and both John and his brother were such good friends. I lost touch when I left college, but just asumed that Maggie & John got married. If through your paper you are able to send my congratulations and good wishes to John & Maggie I'd be very grateful. Everyone lived happily ever after!!

Sincerely Brenda J Dunn (formerly Avery)

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