They say opposites attract and Felpham couple Reg and Pat Eccles prove the case, having celebrated their golden wedding on Friday.
The couple married on the same date that Britain declared war on Germany and Reg jokes that they declared war on each other, too.
But it is all in good spirits as they have been together since they were both 16.
Pat said: “We are very individual. We are opposites.”
Reg chipped in: “Pat loves the garden, I like to travel.”
For their 40th wedding anniversary, he wrote her a song in which he said that from the moment he first saw her, he was sure.
Reg was living in Bognor Regis, having moved down from London at the age of 13, and Pat was from Chichester, where she worked as a hairdresser from the age of 15.
They met in 1961 at Butlin’s Social Club, a winter club that was set up for residents when the holiday resort was built.
Reg recalled: “I was 5ft 1in and people thought I was 11 years old. They used to say to Pat ‘why are you going around with your brother?’.”
They were married at the age of 21 at St Wilfrid’s Church in Bognor Regis on September 3, 1966.
They spent their first year in Hull, where Reg was finishing his university degree.
“We left from our wedding with £25 in our pockets and had to drive to Hull,” said Pat.
They then went to Essex, where Reg completed his Masters and their first child, Richard, was born.
Reg took a job as a management consultant trainee in Cheltenham, then they moved to Guildford, where elder daughter Kate was born.
The family went on to spend a couple of years in South Africa, where third child Vicki was born.
Reg has had a number of jobs in the city and run his own businesses, while Pat continued with her hairdressing.
“We have never really had a plan,” said Pat. “We have been like a rolling stone that gathers no moss.”
They had no plans to move back down south but spotted a property they liked in Aldwick Bay when Reg retired – although he admits he has never fully given up work.
Reg is a Freeman of the City of London and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers.
He and Pat have lived in West Close for four years and are both members of Middleton Bowls Club, Pat being something of a club champion a Reg their press officer.
They will celebrate their anniversary on safari in Kenya later this month.
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