Golden years for neighbourhood sweethearts

Norma and Charlie Hay celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.
Norma and Charlie Hay celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.

From broken bones to new beginnings

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For many years he was just a very good family friend.

But friendship turned to romance when Charlie Hay realised someone else was interested in the girl he had his eye on.

And now 50 years after Charlie asked wife Norma out on their first date, they have just celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

The couple lived in the same street in Southsea and Charlie was a good friend of Norma’s brothers.

‘We grew up together,’ explains Norma. ‘That’s really how we came to know each other.’

She adds: ‘I lived with my brothers at 75 Boulton Road and Charlie was at 101.

‘He used to come along, most of the time on a Saturday, and they’d go off to football together.

‘Our two families knew each other very well.’

Norma was 18 though before Charlie made his move.

‘My brother got married and we had a small reception at 75 Boulton Road,’ says Norma.

‘I went to see my sister-in-law’s brother off at the door and he asked me if I would like to go out with him.

‘Charlie said “No, because she’s going out with me”.’

The couple tied the knot at Portsmouth Register Office on March 11 1961 – two years after their first date.

Charlie and Norma, now living in Copnor, enjoyed a meal out with their family to celebrate.

The couple have two children, Carole and Paul, plus grandchildren Lee, 26, and Lisa, 23.

‘We’ve had a varied life,’ adds Norma.

‘We had great fun when the grandchildren were growing up and spent lots of time with them.

‘I’m one of six children and Charlie has three brothers. ‘We meet up with the family most weeks. ‘All our families are very close, I’ve been very lucky.

‘We’ve had a really good life. It’s been a happy and healthy 50 years together.’