Portchester couple celebrate 70 ‘wonderful’ years together
Some may call them the marriage experts. But they say marriage is just about ‘compromise’. Whatever it may be, Edna and Peter Thomas definitely have a reason to celebrate on April 9 because they have been married for 70 years.
‘Marriage is about give and take. You need to understand each other.’
Edna, 89, and Peter, 93, from Portchester, met at Young and White Estate Agents, North End, when they were 17 and 22.
‘I was a typist and he started off as a rent collector and then became a property negotiator,’ says Edna.
After seeing each other nearly everyday at work, the couple became good friends.
‘Peter bought a motorbike and my mother would not let me on it – she called them “death traps”.
‘But one evening, Peter called for me and I went on his motorbike against my mother’s advice.
‘We did lots of journeys on that motorbike and we loved it.
‘In those days, there were no helmets or leathers. It was just headscarves if you wanted to keep your hair in place.
‘But in the end, Peter sold his motorbike so we could buy a dining room suite,’ laughs Edna, nee Bennett. After dating for a while, the couple decided to get engaged. They married on April 4, 1949, at St Mary’s Church, Fratton.
‘We had our reception at Oddfellows Hall in Kingston Road. But we left that evening for our honeymoon in Paignton.
‘It was lovely. Our wedding day was a beautiful day,’ smiles Edna.
The couple lived in a small flat in North End before moving to Copnor, where they had their sons David and Robert.
When they moved to Portchester – where they have lived now for 60 years – they welcomed their daughter Michelle into the world. They have eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Another great love they have shared throughout their 70 years together is ballroom dancing.
‘We love ballroom dancing – we used to go three times a week. We look back now and think how lucky we were to be able to go to all those dances. We enjoyed all ballroom and sequence dancing. We loved going to Steve Kingsley’s dances.’
To celebrate their platinum anniversary, they are going out with their family.
‘We have had a wonderful life together. I wouldn’t change anything. We have a lovely family too who are so good to us. We wouldn’t be without any of them for the world.
‘Peter has always been fun and he’s so kind.’
And Peter replies: ‘Edna is my rock. She is so kind and considerate.’