'Inspirational' Welwyn Garden City marathon couple celebrate 60th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 14:28 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 20 September 2018
A Welwyn Garden City couple that have done over 400 marathons between them celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary by tackling yet another run near their wedding venue.
Dennis and Eleanor Draper, 82 and 83 respectively, marked the milestone by conquering a Run Reigate 5k – before recreating their wedding photos.
“We didn’t actually know anything about it until the last minute,” Dennis told the WHT. “The family had already arranged it and we got a programme of what we were doing.
“Eleanor used to live in Reigate and we got married at the church there. On Saturday we had a tour of the church and had the photos taken, and on Sunday we had the 5k race.”
The Longcroft Lane couple have raised nearly £20k over the years for WGC-based Isabel Hospice, and have also fundraised for numerous other causes including St John Ambulance, Cancer Research, and Hatfield’s special needs school Southfield.
Eleanor was a nurse at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, before becoming a nanny in Graveley, Hitchin, where she met Dennis in their early 20s.
Dennis recalled: “There was a trip going up to Blackpool Illuminations. We were on the coach together and she was talking to my friend going up there, and came back with me!
“I dropped my best friend and we went off together around Blackpool.”
After scrapping lad code, the pair have had six children, 17 grandchildren and have fostered over 20 children.
Hazel Field, one of their daughters, told the WHT: “This was a very special time as Mum used to attend Reigate Priory School as a child and they also got married at Reigate Church.
“They recreated the photo at the church, except Mum was wearing her running shoes – so not entirely dressed for church. I am sure they were on to run towards him not away from him!”
She added: “They are a true inspiration and a very well-known couple in WGC.
“If they see you out jogging don’t be surprised if you find yourself signed up for the next running event.”
The pair, unsurprisingly, have already applied for next year’s London Marathon.