A HUSBAND and wife will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary by renewing their marriage vows alongside 200 other couples.
Patrick Glenn and his wife Kathleen will attend a service held by the Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, tomorrow.
He will lead the special mass and the couples – all celebrating milestone anniversaries of 25 years, 40, 50, 60 or more – will renew their vows together.
Ex-RAF serviceman Patrick met Kathleen at a Christmas dance in the old Lee Tower ballroom, in Lee-on-the-Solent, next to the now-demolished pier, in 1960.
The couple from Gosport, both 73, married the following summer.
Now grandparents to five boys, Patrick, of House Farm Road, said the ceremony means a lot to them both and marks how far they have come together.
He said: ‘We’re looking forward to it, it’s quite an occasion.
‘Kathleen has been out looking at dresses and hats and I’ve got a smart suit that I’m thinking of wearing depending on how hot it is on the day.
‘We were thinking of renewing our vows anyway but when we were told we could do it with others in the diocese we thought that would be really nice.
‘It’s very special that we have made it to 50 years, because in five generations of my family no one has ever made it that long – they all died before getting to their 50th anniversary.’
This is the third year the mass has taken place in St Bede’s Church, in Basingstoke, to affirm marriage and celebrate those who have reached a milestone.
The couples are all from the mainland area of the diocese, from Portsmouth to Farnborough and Reading to Basingstoke.
Bishop Crispian said: ‘Many people in today’s society write off marriage as an institution or, indeed, as a credible way of life.
‘They see it as just one of a number of possible ways in which human society and relationships can be formed.
‘The presence of so many couples at this celebration, with so many years’ experience of married life, is a powerful witness to the fact that this is not true. In their marriages they have been empowered for lives of lifelong commitment and fidelity, and this special mass is to celebrate that.’
The service begins at 11am tomorrow at St Bede’s Church, Basingstoke.