A couple who met in a social club shortly before the Queen’s Coronation are now celebrating 60 years of marriage.
Dennis and Betty Finch, of Crossways, Three Bridges, met under the watchful eye of her father in 1952 and will be surrounded by family when they celebrate their Diamond wedding anniversary on January 29.
Describing how they met, Crystal Palace fan Dennis, 84, said: “I was in a football team and we moved to this social club for our meeting.
“Betty’s father was a committee member in the club and she came round that day.”
When it came to courting Betty, Dennis stuck to the old reliable visit to the pictures to get to know her – but a much more adventurous outing was to follow.
Dennis was a keen motorbiker and he and Betty joined a crowd of friends for a trip to the Isle of Man, home of the Tourist Trophy (TT) race.
Pictures and motorbikes obviously did the trick because the couple married at St Matthew’s Church, Croydon, on January 29 1955.
Betty and Dennis were born and raised in Croydon but, like many young couples in the 1950s, work opportunities saw them move to Crawley where they raised their own children.
The couple have lived in the same house for 60 years.
With Dennis working for Philips and Betty working for the Royal London Insurance Company, they found themselves in the enviable position of being able to afford to buy their home.
A deposit of £190 was laid down and the mortgage cost them £8 two shillings a month – still quite steep considering Dennis’ wages came to £8 a week.
Before long, Dennis and Betty became parents to Stuart and Elisabeth.
Paying tribute to their parents, Stuart said: “They have been kind loving parents who have let us both find our own ways in life.”
Elisabeth added: “They have been wonderful parents, we are lucky to have had such a happy childhood.
“They have also been loving and supportive grandparents to our four children Sophie, Katie, Lucie and James.
“Thank you both for everything!”
Betty, 83, and Dennis said the cost of getting on the property ladder today left them feeling sorry for young people who were just starting out in life.
And Dennis gave some sound advice for those who hoped to be celebrating their own diamond milestone in 60 years’ time.
He said: ““You have your ups and downs in all marriages. Nothing is easy, you’ve got to work at it.
“We’ve got two televisions so I watch the football out of the way.”