Cinema mistake led to lifetime of bliss for Stan and Pat

James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Those halcyon days when pen and paper just worked!

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MISTAKING her for a boy, the first thing Stan Harris asked his future wife was if she could move her head so he could see the cinema screen.

Fast forward more than half a century later, Stan, 69, and Pat, 70, have just celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Stan Harris 69 and Pat Harris 70  celebrate their Golden Wedding by renewing their vows at St Michael & All Angels Church in Paulsgrove where they got married 50 years ago, Canon Richard Eckersley 87 who married the couple came out of retirement to renew their vows.''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (13900-4)

Stan Harris 69 and Pat Harris 70 celebrate their Golden Wedding by renewing their vows at St Michael & All Angels Church in Paulsgrove where they got married 50 years ago, Canon Richard Eckersley 87 who married the couple came out of retirement to renew their vows.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (13900-4)

Pat, a retired domestic at the former St Mary’s Hospital, said: ‘I had gone to the cinema in Fratton Road.

‘Someone tapped my shoulder and said “excuse me, get your head out of the way mate”.

‘I turned around and saw Stan. He thought I was a boy, as I had a scarf tied around my head.

‘I didn’t think too much of it and laughed it off. That was it really, we started seeing each other.’

At the time Pat Madden was 17, and she lived in Fratton, while Stan, a builder, lived in Paulsgrove.

He said: ‘After mistaking her for a boy, I asked her out on a date.

‘I would get a bus every night from Paulsgrove, to see her in Fratton.

‘But so many times I would fall asleep on the bus, and would end up at the station in North End, where I would have to walk the rest of the way home.

‘We got on really well. Her father was really strict.

‘She had to be home by 10pm, and he would be waiting on the doorstep for her.

‘And if I visited her house, I wasn’t allowed to be in the same room as her.

‘But we got on really well together and that was it.’

The pair, who live in Crown Street, Landport, got married in 1963 in St Michael and All Angels Church, in Hempsted Road, Paulsgrove, on March 30.

And 50 years later, the couple renewed their vows in the same venue – thanks to Canon Richard Eckersley, 87, who originally married Stan and Pat and came out of retirement for the job.

‘We had wanted to get married in St Mary’s Church, in Fratton,’ added Pat.

‘But we couldn’t get a spot, so we married in Paulsgrove instead. We renewed our vows in St Mary’s at 25 years.

‘This ceremony was lovely. Afterwards we had a party, and it was a lot of fun.’

Pat and Stan have two children, six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

They enjoy gardening together. So what’s the secret to a long and happy married life?

Stan said: ‘She’s my best friend, as well as my wife, and she’s always there to support me. I wouldn’t change her for the world.’

Despite a few disagreements here and there, Pat said: ‘We just get on well and share things in common.

‘Stan is the life of the party and lights up any room he goes in to.’