Reg Harper was pretty confident he’d met the girl of his dreams within minutes of meeting her.
He’d been back home in Birmingham while on leave from the Royal Navy when he was introduced to 18-year-old Ivy.
Fast-forward six decades and the couple have just celebrated 60 happy years of marriage together.
As Ivy remembers their first meeting she recalls that Reg was keen on her right from the start.
‘We met outside the Black Horse pub,’ she says. ‘He was just going back to Portsmouth after a week off. I was with my brother’s wife and Reg said “Hello, you’ll be hearing from me”.
‘Then he wrote to me and we went out when he came home and that’s how it blossomed.’
During their two year courtship Reg continued to travel between Portsmouth and Birmingham as often as he could.
Their love grew and the couple tied the knot in Birmingham on May 12 1951. The newlyweds set up home together in Portsmouth and went on to have three children, Carole, Allan and Elaine.
Ivy, 80, and Reg, 82, now live in Waterlooville and have seven grandchildren as well as nine great-grandchildren with a tenth on the way.
They spent their diamond wedding anniversary at home and romantic Reg organised a surprise party for Ivy a few days later.
‘My husband had arranged it all,’ explains Ivy. ‘We had 60 guests and I didn’t know anything about it at all. My daughter said he’d been planning it for 12 months.
‘I had a vintage car take me from home to the Inn Lodge in Portsmouth and seeing all our family was lovely. We thoroughly enjoyed it.’
Ivy and Reg were also delighted to receive a card of congratulations from the Queen.
Plenty of love and kindness have kept their marriage a happy one, says Ivy.
She adds: ‘We’ve had our ups and downs but you pull together. It’s about give and take and being there for one another.’