Couple who honeymooned in Jersey return to celebrate diamond wedding anniversary

The happy couple Ken and Finna Turner (37796782)

A COUPLE who honeymooned in Jersey 60 years ago are travelling back to the Island today to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Ken and Finna Turner currently live in Spain and have been returning to Jersey for major anniversaries since their wedding in 1964.

The couple will visit Jersey from 8 to 14 April, followed by more celebrations in England and Spain.

“Our honeymoon at the Royal Hotel, David Place, is where it all began,” Mr Turner said.

“This was followed by our silver wedding anniversary at Hotel de France and our golden celebration at Hotel L’Horizon.”

They will celebrate their diamond anniversary at the Best Western Royal Hotel.

Honeymoon island

During the late 1950s to the late 1960s, Jersey became known as “The Honeymoon Island” for hundreds of British newlyweds.

Honeymoon couples form a heart for the camera on the beach at St Brelade in 1964. (37796780)

Jersey’s hotels would be fully booked, with couples arriving from UK cities outside of the peak season in the spring because of an income tax quirk.

This was because early April marked the end of the government’s financial year, meaning that every newlywed couple got an allowance of £320 against income tax.

This tax provision was introduced in 1946, and many couples who had postponed their marriage due to the war decided to take advantage of it.

Any couple married before 6 April in any year could file a joint return for the entire preceding year.

With the extra money in their pockets, Jersey was the perfect destination for young honeymooners.

Most of these young couples had never left mainland Britain before, and Jersey seemed rather exotic to them.

Not only that, but Jersey was free from “purchase tax” – a tax levied between 1940 and 1973 on the wholesale value of luxury goods sold in the UK. That meant cheap French perfumes, Swiss watches and American cigarettes.

Secret to a long marriage

Mr Turner met his Icelandic wife at a famous venue called Purley’s Orchid Ballroom in London in 1963.

They got engaged eight weeks later and married on 4 April the following year. They now have two daughters – Kim and Ruth.

Mr Turner has worked as a commis chef, in sales and marketing, in general management and then as a headhunter. His wife was a supervisor at the Iceland Telephone Exchange in Reykjavik and later worked in fashion, before becoming the “most amazing mother and homemaker”.

Mr Turner said that his wife had a stroke 12 years ago and uses a wheelchair.

“I think she is still as beautiful as ever,” he added.

When asked what the secret to a happy marriage was, Mr Turner said: “First and foremost is love. Love truly is the greatest and most precious gift of all, and if you are lucky enough to receive it, you have much to be thankful for.”

The pair have been sent a wedding anniversary message from the King received by Mr Turner in the post this week.

“It makes me proud to be British,” he said.

Why Jersey?

When asked about why they keep returning to the Island, Mr Turner said that he “couldn’t put his finger on it”, but added that Jersey had always been a place where he had “wonderful memories”.

He said: “It is a place that I have always been drawn to and have a great affinity with.”

The love affair with Jersey started when he first visited on a group trip with some friends when he was 20 years old.

They intended to hire a VW minibus, but the only available vehicle was a very old Trojan laundry van with broken brakes and doors that would not properly close.

But, as Mr Turner recounted, this didn’t matter and only added to the sense of fun.

“It was the most wonderful time,” he laughed.

When asked if there was any Jersey quirks he particularly enjoyed, he said: “I love the lovely and polite way that people approach roundabouts and let each other go one at a time.”

A filter in turn is a type of traffic junction unique to the Channel Islands, with drivers taking it in turns to go.

Mr Turner said: “Another one of my favourite things about Jersey is the food. Dining in Jersey’s restaurants is simply a gastronomic delight.

“My favourite, many moons ago, was called Nelson’s Eye and, of course, the Old Court House.

“Although it is much more built up now, it’s still a very special place.”

Mr Turner also added that, having been born in London in 1940, the Second World War had played a significant part in his upbringing.

“It was on my first visit to the Island that I began to properly understand what Jersey and the other Channel Islands went through,” he said.

“On my first visit to Jersey, I was fascinated to visit what was then known as the German Underground Hospital [Jersey War Tunnels].”

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