Diamond wedding: Stanley and Christine Wickham

Stanley and Christine married in March, 1956. Picture: Malcolm Wells (160329-9219).
Stanley and Christine married in March, 1956. Picture: Malcolm Wells (160329-9219).
From left: PO Adam Hilton,  Father Christmas, Captain Peter Towell, CPO Chris 'Paddy' Gilkes and Malcolm Dent

Engineers spread Christmas joy

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Stanley and Christine Wickham have had their fair share of ups and downs, but they dealt with them how any two people in love do – together.

The great-grandparents, both from Southsea, met at a wedding three years before they married at St James’s Church, Southsea, in 1956.

They celebrated their diamond wedding last month with a party at Goals, Portsmouth, which about 100 people attended.

Speaking of how they met, 79-year-old Christine says: ‘Stan’s brother asked me out before he did and I did say yes, but then I met Stan.

‘Our first date was at a pub in Hambledon, I was only 16 and Stan was 23, he kept buying me drinks but I kept tipping them in the plants.’

‘I didn’t want them but I didn’t want to be rude either.’

Eighty-six-year-old Stan, who worked for Southern Electric for 30 years, says: ‘She was pouring my money away and I only found out later!’

The couple used to walk along the beach for dates and visits to Helen’s Cafe, became a Saturday night thing. It’s also where they spoke of marriage.

Stan says: ‘On the day of our wedding it was raining, but as we were saying our vows the sun shone through the window.’

‘I said it was a good omen and it was, we’ve had some amazing times.’

The couple went on to have four daughters, and a son, Mark, who passed away when he was eight-and-a-half.

Christine, who was a home help nurse, says: ‘Mark was our first, I had him when I was 21, but he had neuroblastoma – a type of cancer.’

‘I had a nervous breakdown after he died and I don’t remember anything for a year after it happened.’

Christine had help from St James’s Hospital, Milton, before Stan took matters into his own hands, knowing how best to care for his wife.

‘Stan was working and doing the housework as well,’ says Christine. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it without him.’

But the devoted pair have had some brilliant times as well, and thank their wonderful, big family for many happy years.

‘One of my favourite times was when we took the girls to stay in a caravan, we got there and it was the shoddiest thing,’ says Stan. The roof started to leak when it rained, but we still had so much fun.’

Thanks to their daughters, Stan and Christine spent the night of their anniversary in The Queen’s Hotel, Southsea, with a bottle of champagne.They also plan to book a coach trip to Liverpool where they will make even more memories.

What makes them so compatible? Christine says: ‘I just love him. We’ve been together so long, we’re so much alike – we can read each other’s minds. I also think it helps that I let him watch the football.’

Stan says: ‘She calls me a silly old so-and-so, but we’ve been very lucky, especially with our girls. The four of them plus our grandchildren have made us very happy.’