It all started on South Parade Pier...

Janet and Gordon Spencer on their wedding day in 1958.
Janet and Gordon Spencer on their wedding day in 1958.

Side-by-side on South Parade Pier and watching fireworks light up the sky, 
neither one of them knew they were standing next to their soulmate.

But thanks to mutual friends, Janet Jackson, from Cosham, and Gordon Spencer, from Southsea, met and are now celebrating 60 years together.

‘I remember our first date so well,’ says Janet, 78, ‘we were going to the Odeon Cinema to watch Rock Around The Clock.

‘I could see from my bus window that Gordon was stood outside waiting for me. I was so scared to get off - but I am so glad I did.’

One year down the line and Gordon got on one knee. Not before Janet lost the ring though.

‘We were walking along the beach,’ says Gordon, ‘and I proposed.’

‘But I dropped the ring,’ laughs Janet, ‘and we spent ages looking for it in the rocks and we found it eventually.’

‘We have a running joke that it was deliberate, as if I didn’t want to marry him. But of course I did.’

The couple tied the knot at St Philip’s Church, Cosham, on August 16, 1958, surrounded by 100 guests.

‘I was so nervous but obviously excited,’ says Janet.

After a ‘wonderful’ wedding, the couple made their way to the Isle of Wight. Where unfortunately, it rained every day.

‘It was very romantic. But we actually came home a day early because we were so fed up with the weather,’ laughs Janet.

Not before long, the couple welcomed their first daughter, Debbie, into the world. Three years on, she was joined by Vanessa and then Simon.

Janet and Gordon were over the moon with their family. So when their six grandchildren and two great-granddaughters came along, they were ecstatic.

‘They’re all so beautiful and loved,’ sighs Janet.

When asked of how it feels to reach such a milestone, Janet said it was ‘amazing’.

So to celebrate, Janet and Gordon’s three children whisked away from their Drayton home to Devon for a long weekend with all of their family.

‘We had a brilliant time,’ says Janet, ‘it was fantastic that everyone could come and celebrate it with us.’

‘I think the most successful thing in marriage is family. Just seeing our children grow up into good people is lovely to watch.’

And as his wife wells up behind him, Gordon, 82, says ‘I think my wife is marvellous. She has always looked after me and I just cannot praise her enough.’