Diamond anniversary of couple who met at Drill Hall dance

JPCT 090813 S13330251x Beryl and John Mitchell, diamond wedding, Horsham -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 090813 S13330251x Beryl and John Mitchell, diamond wedding, Horsham -photo by Steve Cobb
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Horsham couple John and Beryl Mitchell celebrate their diamond wedding on Thursday, with a party for 80 friends and relatives on Saturday.

John, a retired electrician, said they met shortly after he left the Army in 1948.

Finding himself back in Horsham while most of his friends were still in the services, he went to a dance at the Drill Hall in the hope of meeting old friends. Instead he met Beryl, who was there with her twin sister.

“He just danced the whole evening with me,” she recalled.

“I thought: ‘She’s not a bad mover,’” said John, “‘there’s no stumbling, and we can follow each other.’”

John worked for Seeboard for nearly 40 years, and carried on working after they retired him, as well as building the steps and laying the paving around the garden of their Heron Way home.

Beryl, who describes herself as a ‘mad keen gardener’, prepared the cement.

“People used to laugh, but she was good at it,” said John, “and she had an eye for levels.”

Today their garden is a treasure trove of statues, ornamental fountains, and old post boxes serving as nest boxes for birds.

In recent years, health problems have forced John to cut down on his activities.

“The main thing is I’ve got my wife,” he said. “I’ve got her.

“Fortunately, I’ve got a good wife who looks after me.”