FOR one couple, December is not just about Christmas.
Reg and Rita Melhuish, of Ardingly Drive, Goring, celebrated their 65th anniversary this year, surrounded by friends and family.
Reg, 88, and Rita, 84, met in 1946 when Reg was on leave from the Royal Marines.
Rita said: “Although we’d met once, we didn’t start courting until March 1947 when we met each other again at a dance.
“From then on, we saw each other almost every night and every day and we got engaged on my 19th birthday in May 1948.”
The couple were married seven months later on December 27 at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond Road, Worthing.
They have two daughters, three grand-daughters, and two great-grandsons.
“We’re very fortunate, we have such a lovely family,” said Rita.
The duo have also firmly established themselves in the local community and are affectionately known as the ‘Worthing Pearlies’ thanks to their abundant generosity and selfless dedication.
“We’ve become quite well known as we wanted to do something to help charities, including St Barnabas House hospice which has helped some of our loved ones and we felt we wanted to repay them a bit,” Rita explained.
“Reg plays the accordion, so we do sing-alongs at nursing homes and places like that.
“We do it together because we always do things together – we’re on the same level, the same par.”
Their daughter Jane said: “While I was working, all of my colleagues and friends were welcome to pop into mum and dad’s for a cuppa.
“The adage was, ‘if the car’s in the drive, the door will be open.’ They were, and still are, ‘Nan and Pops’ to so many people.”
So what is the couple’s secret? “We just love each other,” Rita said, “We have had our ups and downs but we just get through it because we care about each other and are on the same par.” Reg added: “I love her dearly and I still do.”