‘Give and take’ – the key to 65 years of happy marriage

Betty and John Walker's 65th wedding anniversary
Betty and John Walker's 65th wedding anniversary

‘GIVE and take, caring and sharing’, these are the secrets to a long and happy marriage, according to a couple who marked their 65th wedding anniversary on June 18.

Betty and John Walker of West Street, Sompting, received their second telegram from the Queen on June 18, in honour of their achievement.

“It’s no good people saying they go through life without a cross word because that would be wrong,” said 86-year-old Betty.

“But we have been very, very lucky.

“I have got a lovely family. We are a nice, close family and we always have been.”

The couple met while working at F.K. Warren in 1947, where Betty was company secretary and John was a foreman.

John, 97, served in the Royal Army Service Corps during the Second World War. He was evacuated from the beaches at Dunkirk and served in the desert under Montgomery before going over to Sicily and joining the push through Europe.

Betty and John married at Broadwater Church in 1949, Betty in a dress made from parachute silk.

The pair moved to Lancing where John set up builders’ firm Walker Cotton, where he worked until his retirement.

With their two daughters, Jayne and Sally, they moved to Sompting in 1962.

Betty worked for Excess Insurance and later London and Edinburgh insurance as typing-pool supervisor and superintendent of text processing until she retired in 1988.

They are now keen members of the Lancing Short Mat Bowls Club, and have four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, with two more due this year.

Their eldest grandson, Scott, 39, a freelance cameraman, is in Brazil filming the World Cup.

John keeps an immaculate garden.

On the morning of their anniversary, the couple’s family took them to Steyning for a surprise birthday breakfast, which Betty said was lovely.

Betty and John said they had ‘so many’ fond memories as a couple, but that a recent holiday to Egypt stood out in their minds.

“We wanted to see the Valley of the Kings,” said John, who had been stationed on the other side of Egypt during the war.

“It was the sort of holiday you never forget.”

The pair are looking forward to receiving a third telegram form the Queen in a couple of years when John celebrates his 100th birthday.

With a smile on his face, John said he had recently been asked whether his teeth were his own – to which he had replied, ‘certainly, they cost me a lot of money!’

The pair said they wanted to thank their ‘wonderful’ family for doing so much for them.

Daughter Jayne said: “Both my sister and I have been so fortunate to have had a mum and dad like ours to always be there for the entire family throughout our lives.

“They are an amazing example to us and we could never find the words to express just how much they are loved and mean to us all.”