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Borstal Diamond couple reveal secret to long marriage

By Medway Messenger reporter

There’s a glint in the eye of Peter Harris when he jokingly admits his favourite thing about his wife of 60 years.

“Nice boobs,” he chuckles.

The couple, of Mansel Drive, Borstal, say their cheeky sense of humour and ability to bounce off each other is just one of the things that have seen them reach their Diamond anniversary on Thursday, September 27.

Kay and Peter Harris from Rochester celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Feature. Picture: Matthew Walker. (4669390)
Kay and Peter Harris from Rochester celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Feature. Picture: Matthew Walker. (4669390)

But he is quick to add: “My favourite thing about her is her bubbly personality and every time she comes in the room, it lights up.”

Kay was introduced to the love of her life, Peter, when she was 15.

He was part of a Gillingham motorcycling club, and her uncle, Tom Pearson, who ran the club, volunteered her to navigate the motorbike runs.

Kay said: “I would sit on the back of his motorbike, leant a clipboard on his back and instruct him where to go.

“I got very affectionate towards the back of his head - I saw that more than the front.”

Kay and Peter Harris from Rochester celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture on their wedding day in 1958. Picture: Matthew Walker. (4669389)
Kay and Peter Harris from Rochester celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture on their wedding day in 1958. Picture: Matthew Walker. (4669389)

The pair quickly began dating and Peter would show off his record collection.

However, their dare-devil hobby slightly ruined their first kiss.

Peter said: “We were wearing our biker helmets, put our heads together and then bang, we didn’t really make it.”

Three years later, including two years of National Service for Peter, the pair were married at St Nicholas’ Church, Strood, on Kay’s 18th birthday on September 27, 1958.

They honeymooned on the Isle of Wight, but by the second day Peter was violently ill.

Kay said: “I know I’d vowed to love him ‘in sickness and in health’ but I hadn’t bargained on the sickness being that soon.”

The Harrises moved into a caravan at Hoo Marina Park. Peter worked in the dockyard and Kay became a dental receptionist at Thompson’s in Chatham.

They continued their motorcycle runs until they had their first child in 1962, Stephen, who is now 56 and lives in East Sussex.

Next they had Sara, 52, who lives next door to them in Mansel Drive, Borstal.

They also have five grandchildren - Nikki, 33, James, 31, Katie, 22, Daniel, 20, and Hannah, 17. Anniversary celebrations included a tea party for 80 people.

And their secret? Never going to bed on an argument.

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