Published: 00:01, 16 January 2019
In the autumn of 1948, James Brown met the love of his life.
He was working as a greengrocer for his father when, on his rounds in the Downham Estate in Lewisham, he saw Vera.
This started a whirlwind romance that led to their marriage at a register office in Catford just four months later, on January 7, 1949.
Now, as they celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary, 94-year-old James remembers it like it was yesterday.
“My dad would only allow me to have half a day off for it,” he said.
"As soon as we met, Vera was pregnant and we clicked so well that before we knew it we were married. She and I were right for one another.”
The couple continued living in London, where they had nine children – the eldest of whom is now 68.
James, who served as a soldier during the Second World War, continued to work as a greengrocer while Vera, now 95, was a stay-at-home mum.
“It was a lot of hard work,” James said.
“We had nothing handed to us and we had to work to feed our family. I would work seven days a week – even on Christmas Day.
"Vera and I hardly spoke to one another because I was out so much, but we made sure the nine of them had as much as an only child.”
The pair later decided to relocate to Herne Bay, before deciding it had “too many old people” and moving to Westmarsh in Preston, near Canterbury.
But they soon moved back to Herne Bay, where they continue to live in Hadleigh Gardens.
Their family has swelled over the years to the point where they now have 18 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
“The youngest is about three,” added James.
“I can’t remember all of their names, but Vera can,” James said.
The couple celebrated their platinum wedding with several members of their family.
Despite bickering occasionally, they still adore each other.
“We have our moments where we moan at each other, but we always end up laughing again,” said James.
“We love each other very, very much; we still think the world of each other.”