Celebrating their Diamond Wedding anniversary, Derek and Pat Southern remember the last 60 years with nothing but love in their hearts.
Derek says: ‘Pat was on holiday with her friend and I was home from the navy.
‘I went away days after and nothing happened for a while.
‘She wrote to me but the letters didn’t get through straight away.
‘I did see her again though and that was the start of the next 60 years.’
Pat and Derek, of St Chad’s Avenue, North End, have four children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
They both agree that their fondest memories are from the days of raising their family.
Originally from London, Pat moved to Portsmouth and lived in married naval quarters with Derek after their wedding, in London, on April 5, 1958.
‘Serving away in the navy was easy because I knew I’d be going home to her,’ explains 87-year-old Derek. ‘I wouldn’t change a thing. She’s given me an amazing life and an amazing family.’
And he has a great tip on how to have a marriage as long and happy as his.
‘It’s very simple, there’s just two little words to remember, “yes dear”.’
With Derek spending a lot of the time away with the Royal Navy, Pat remembers fondly the wonderful times they had together when he was home.
Pat, 80, says: ‘He’s very caring and he loves his family.’
And Pat’s advice to someone at the beginning of their marriage?
‘Marriage is about give and take, it’s not always lovely and easy but you have to put effort in and stick with it.
‘I feel people are much quicker to give up now.’
And would she do it again? Without hesitation, Pat says: ‘Most definitely.
‘I’ve been very lucky. I wouldn’t change a thing’.
As for the wedding itself, even though 60 years have passed the couple remember the ‘dismal’ weather and pouring rain.
‘Most of the photos came out well but the one of us cutting the cake and a few others were ruined because rain got behind the lens of the camera and there was nothing you could do about it in those days.’ says Pat.
Pat and Derek are looking forward to a big celebration in May.