Goring couple John and Pauline Blair celebrate their diamond wedding today.
They have lived in Worthing for 50 years and love being by the seaside but it was in north London, where Pauline was raised, that they first met.
John came from Welling in Kent but started working at the National Provincial Bank at the same time as Pauline’s brother, Pete, and used to stay in Edmonton.
He and Pete would often go to watch Tottenham Hotspur play but he did not see much of Pauline at the time as she was often out running.
“I basically didn’t take any notice of her at all,” laughed John.
“I can always remember her curled up in an armchair reading a book.”
He and Pete were conscripted in 1952 and John was posted to Gibraltar. He arranged a last meet-up with Pete before he went and as the family were all down in Hastings at the time, John went to join them for a few days.
They were up at Fairlight Glen, a wooded area near Hastings, one day when John went down with appendicitis.
“Pauline helped me all the way down and it went from there,” explained John.
He was later posted to Cambridgeshire and he would hitch lifts back to Edmonton to see her.
The couple were married in Edmonton on July 28, 1956. They have two children, Sue and John, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
John said his father found them a little bedsit in Plumstead Common when they first married. It cost them 17s/6 a week, which enabled them to save up for a house and eventually, they put a deposit down on a new build in Hassocks.
After their first child was born, John’s long hours commuting began to take their toll and he was missing out on time with the family, so he moved to the Midland Bank and they set up home in Kithurst Crescent, Goring, in 1964.
John worked his way up and ended up as manager at the Warwick Street branch from 1983 until he retired in 1990.
Pauline said she did a lot of smaller jobs before working as secretary at Goring CE Primary School. When her son reached the age of 16, she joined Worthing Auction Gallery and ended up working there part-time for 25 years.
They have lived in their current home in Alinora Avenue, Goring, for 46 years. It is ideal being so near the beach, as the couple have always loved swimming in the sea. They even took a dip last week during the hot spell.
They also love travelling and have often taken the grandchildren away on holiday.
John, 81, enjoys lawn bowling and plays at Worthing Pavilion Bowling Club twice a week.
“I used to play competitive games for the club but its just a gentle roll up now,” he said.
Pauline, 82, was a sprinter in her youth and played netball for her county at the Festival of Britain in 1951.
“Looking back, my one regret is that I didn’t keep up the running,” she said, explaining that she stopped when she had children.
“We have been very lucky. We have lots of friends around here who we have known for years.”
They will be celebrating their anniversary with a family lunch at Angmering Manor.
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