They’re celebrating 60 years of married life but Michael and Barbara Richardson have been friends for a lot longer.
The couple first met when they were children living in Portsmouth and grew up together.
‘We knew each other when we were about nine, we used to play together. And we were still friends in our early teens,’ says Barbara.
‘My mum used to look out and say ‘‘that Michael Richardson is riding up and down on his bike, whistling away, hoping you’ll go out’’.’
But Michael became an army apprentice when he was just 15 and that took him to Berkshire.
It wasn’t until they were 18 that he and Barbara bumped into each other again at a Christmas dance at the Savoy, opposite South Parade Pier.
A year later they married and spent the next two decades being posted to different parts of the world.
Michael was an armourer with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and was attached to different units during his career.
He and Barbara had to spend time apart when he was sent to conflict zones like Aden and Borneo but mostly she went wherever he was stationed.
The couple lived in Scotland, Gibraltar, Germany and Singapore and enjoyed the service life with their two daughters.
‘You get used to moving around, it’s part of that life,’ says Michael. And Barbara says: ‘If I had my time all over again I wouldn’t change a thing.’
Michael left the army after 23 years and worked at Portsmouth-based FPT Industries, which made aircraft fuel tanks. Barbara worked for services supplier NAAFi for 20 years, both abroad and in Portsmouth.
Now both 80, the Milton couple celebrated their anniversary with a party at the Royal Marines Association Club in Southsea. Barbara’s dad was in the Marines.
They have five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.