Blue sapphire wedding: Rob and Kate Cottee

The Cottee's celebrated their anniversary with a family garden party last month
The Cottee's celebrated their anniversary with a family garden party last month

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Rob and Kate Cottee admit they have their differences, but say their chalk and cheese relationship is what keeps them together.

And it must have worked – because 65 years on, the couple from Farlington have just celebrated their blue sapphire wedding.

Rob and Kate, both 87, marked the occasion last month with a garden party full of friends and family members at their son’s house in Portchester.

Kate says: ‘Our eldest son and his wife organised the party and we helped.

‘They did us proud. It was an absolutely wonderful day.’

Back in 1948, Kate was in the WRENs and Rob was a sailor. The pair met at HMS Harrier in South Wales, and got talking at a ship’s company dance.

‘Rob’s originally from Essex and I’m from Barrow-in-Furness,’ says Kate.

‘I liked Rob because he was tall, dark and handsome. He had just started a meteorological course.’

Three years later, the lovebirds married in Kate’s home town. ‘We sailed into marriage quite normally, because we’d known each other for three years by that point,’ she adds.

Rob and Kate went on to have three children, Alison, 61, Simon, 58, and Ben, 51. They also have one granddaughter.

Something else the couple think has worked for them is not having been in each other’s pockets all the time. Although they are a sociable couple who share interests and hobbies, much of their time was spent apart while Rob was away working.

When they were together, they both liked to do amateur dramatic pantomime plays.

Kate says: ‘We did a lot of plays at different air stations. At one of them we didn’t even have a stage, we made one out of tables. We both love theatre.’

After living at different air stations all over the country and in Malta for two years, Rob and Kate settled in Portsmouth in 1969, when Rob was serving in HMS Hermes.

Rob says: ‘We came to the married quarters at Drayton and in 1971 bought our house on Grant Road.

‘We’ve lived here ever since. We love the area.’

The couple got the chance to work together at that point, after both of them joined the road’s social committee. Rob and Kate organised many events for the residents of Grant Road, with Rob even becoming chairman of the committee.

Kate says: ‘We are quite different. Rob does crosswords and Sudoku, which drives me mad.

‘But we always say we have frank and fearless discussions, not arguments.

‘We’ve had some super holidays and some brilliant times, and I think Rob puts up with me.

‘I do nag him a lot,’ she chuckles.

Rob says: That’s what keeps us together, though, we’re like chalk and cheese.

‘We have a sense of humour and that’s really important.

‘Kate’s a damn good carer for me, and we’re very lucky to still be able to do things together at the age of 87.’