‘Card from the Queen reduced us to tears’

The couple on their wedding day in 1954
The couple on their wedding day in 1954

Prepare to get ‘all shook up’

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Having known each other for more than 67 years, Sylvia and Peter Main from Southsea honoured their long life together as part of their diamond wedding anniversary celebrations.

The couple went to son Darren and daughter-in-law Carol’s house in Fareham for a party before going to the Cams Mill restaurant, also in Fareham, for a three-course dinner with the family and close friends.

Sylvia and Peter Main today

Sylvia and Peter Main today

A highlight of their anniversary was receiving a card from the Queen by special delivery, organised by daughter Christine.

‘That was a surprise and it was really beautiful,’ says Sylvia, 79.

‘It is the most gorgeous photo of her – the inscription inside is lovely and she did the signing.’

Part of the message read ‘I send my congratulations to you on such a special occaision and would like to add my good wishes for a very happy Christmas’ and was signed Elizabeth R.

‘Of course that is going in a frame!’ says Sylvia.

‘It reduced us to tears.’

The couple got married at St Bartholomews Church in Southsea on December 27, 1954.

The childhood sweethearts met while attending Francis Avenue School when Sylvia was 12 and Peter 13.

As children, Sylvia would help Peter deliver papers.

‘I had a local district which I used to deliver papers to, but there was one house – 7 Francis Avenue – which was about 400-500 yards outside of it. I used to get her to run up and do that one,’ says Peter, 80.

‘That was a bit naughty of him really,’ Sylvia says.

‘He used to say “would you like to post that one for me?” and I would run up to the house. When I got back he was sitting on a wall!

‘Because my father thought girls shouldn’t do paper rounds I didn’t have one, but I enjoyed helping Peter.’

Peter worked in the dockyard as a Professional Technology Officer in charge of maintaining weaponry on board naval ships.

Sylvia worked for many years in the Savoy Gift Shop on Albert Road and also worked for Tremletts.

As well as their two children, they have four grandchildren – Katie, 35, Charlotte, 29, Stephen, 27 and Matthew, 23 – and great-granddaughter Eloise, 1.

So what is their secret to a long marriage?

‘Tolerance. I would say we are a good team,’ says Peter.

‘You enter into a contract and you do not know each other that well. But it is a fundamental love for each other that is essential for a good partnership.’

‘We would like to make the 70th anniversary – we have still got many years left in us,’ says Sylvia.