Stan and Patricia Massey got married at Portchester Castle in 1955 – and 60 years later they returned as part of their diamond anniversary celebrations.
The first time round, Stan spent his last night as a bachelor in interesting circumstances. On the night before their wedding, Stan stayed the night in a hulk next to Bert’s Café in Portchester, a famous spot for bikers.
He recalls: ‘I couldn’t sleep at Tricia’s because you didn’t see the bride before the wedding, and all my family was up north. It was definitely interesting.’
The couple met at St Lloyds College in Exeter, and for Stan it was love at first sight.
‘I was stood at the reception and I did a double-take when I saw Patricia. She was flouncing downstairs with this dress on and her hair was long and in ringlets. All that went through my mind was “wow”. I will always remember it,’ says Stan.
After spending all their time together, Stan proposed on the bank of the River Exe, sat on an upturned rowing boat. They formally got engaged in Exeter Cathedral.
The couple have two sons – David, 59, a biochemist and Steven, 56, an artist. They are also the proud grandparents to Hannah, 26, William, 24, Elena 18, and Stanley, seven months.
Stan, an ex-Havant councillor, and Patricia celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with a champagne breakfast at son Steven’s house and a day trip to Chichester. They also went for a meal at the Anchor Bleu in Bosham with the family.
David organised a card from the Queen to be sent to them, and he and wife Debbie bought Stan and Patricia an engraved crystal vase and two silver sixpences minted in 1955 as presents.
So why do the couple work so well together?
Patricia says: ‘He brings me up a cup of tea every morning – it’s lovely, I love that. If he wasn’t there with that cup of tea life would be so empty,’ says Patricia.
‘My sister said that if anything were to happen to Stan I would be like a lost butterfly, fluttering around looking for him.’
Stan says: ‘I used to work long hours and she brought up the children. She is magnificent – the best wife you could ask for. I was always the chatterbox up front but all the time behind me was my good lady Tricia, persuading me to raise money for this and that.’
One such endeavour was when Stan raised the funds for a breast cancer unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital,
Stan raised hundreds of thousands of pounds during the 1980s after Patricia had to go to Guildford for a mammogram because there were no resources locally. He got an MBE for his fundraising.