Amazing 70 years of thrills and joyful love for this Fareham couple

The past 70 years have been filled with love and thrills for former members of Portsmouth Motorcycle Club, Bruce and Norma Bedford.

By Hollie Busby
Monday, 29th November 2021, 11:18 am
Bruce and Norma having fun in 2008.
Bruce and Norma having fun in 2008.

Bruce grew up in Southwick and wife Norma (née Burnell) was raised in Caterham, Surrey and today (November 29) the soulmates are celebrating their platinum wedding with close family at home in Fareham.

Bruce, 92, worked as a steam engine driver in 1943 for a threshing contractor. For the first 10 years of his working life he worked on different farms during the winter. He then went on to work for Tom Parker Dairies until he retired in 1994.

Norma, 88, worked as a nanny.

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Norma and Bruce's wedding in 1951.

The couple married with a quiet celebration at Fareham Register Office, Osborn Road, in 1951. Money was tight so guests were invited back to Norma’s mother’s house, Gertrude Burnell, with the actual cost of the wedding being very little. Norma wore a long button-up coat instead of a traditional wedding dress.

Bruce first met Norma at Portchester Youth Club while he was playing football when they were aged 16 and 20.

He says: ‘I was playing football and I saw a young lady on the touchline and I thought, well, what a very attractive lady.

‘We’d regularly go along to the youth club but that first time I saw her was when I was playing.’

Bruce and Norma Bedford of Fareham are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 241121-18)

Norma adds: ‘We both went to the youth club and did the things that the youth club did. Then I started going to football to watch him play every week and then we got together.’

From the 1950s Bruce and Norma belonged to Portsmouth Motorcycle Club where the couple took part in the off-road sport of scrambling.

While the love birds were courting, Norma used to sit on the back of Bruce’s motorbike with her feet tucked inside Bruce’s pockets. It was a favourite pastime which the pair look back on with great joy and fond memories.

Norma and Bruce with family on their 50th wedding anniversary.

The couple went on to have four children, Brian, Lynne, John and Julie, the youngest.

They now share a brood of seven grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, some of whom they visited yesterday afternoon (November 28) at Portchester for tea and cake while balloons adorned the house.

Norma says the secret to their long and happy marriage is ‘taking each other as we are’.

She says: ‘We don’t want a lot and never have done, which is probably our secret. We’ve always stayed happy together.’

Bruce, who was formerly the president of Palmerston Bowls Club at Fareham in 2010 and 2011 and show manager for Solent Fuchsia Club in the town before that says the key to a successful marriage is ‘to forgive and forget’.

‘If you have an argument, as many people do, you just forget all about it. Norma’s always there for me and I’ll do anything for her.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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