A SOUTHWICK couple who have devoted their lives to their family celebrated their diamond wedding surrounded by loved ones.
Ronald and Brenda Redman have lived in Highdown all their married life and most of their family still live in walking distance.
They were married at Hove Registry Office on January 15, 1955, in a double wedding with Brenda’s brother. The couple have three of their own children, Jane, Michael and Tina, and fostered nieces and nephews, too. They now have 16 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren.
Jane said: “We never wanted for anything when we were children. Everything revolved around the family and it always has.”
Mrs Redman even won Mum of the Year in the Herald about 20 years ago.
A surprise vintage tea party was organised to celebrate last Sunday, four days before the anniversary.
Mr Redman was born in Southwick and has always lived in the town, while Brenda moved down to Portslade from Dorking when she was 13.
She went on to work at the old Flexer Sacks factory in Camden Street, Portslade, and it was there that they met.
“Ron came to do the footings on the building,” she explained. “He asked me to go out with him and that was it. We met in the May and married the following January.”
Mr Redman had a troubled upbringing but by then he had set up his own building firm, R. Redman and Sons, which is now run by his son and grandchildren.
He said: “When I was 16, I was a bit of a naughty boy so I went to borstal for three years and then into the Army.”
He served with the Royal Signals in Cyprus during bitter troubles and later in the Suez Canal crisis.
He said it was the discipline he was given as a young man that set him on the right road and he never forgot being told to lead a ‘sober, steady and industrious life’ when he left borstal.
“I have done that, and it worked,” he said.
It became his catchphrase and he said he had passed it on to his children and was proud they had all ‘turned out good’.
Jane said her mum had also always worked, as well as looking after the children, including at a sweet factory, as a cleaner and later as a companion.
“They are both workers. She is amazing. This was an open house. It is just a big family unit. They have always helped people.”
Now, Mrs Redman enjoys knitting and Mr Redman likes to use his creative talents to build beautiful model cottages as a hobby, as well as trimming a range of topiary figures in his garden.
They regularly go line dancing together, having been members of a club in Portslade for 20 years, and both enjoy travelling.
Ronald said he was the first person in their road to get a car. Years later, Mrs Redman passed the driving test on her first attempt, at the age of 60. She had previously ridden a moped but changed to a car with encouragement from her daughter Tina.
Mrs Redman said: “We have had a full life.” Her husband added: “It has been a good life.”