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Newington and Sittingbourne couples celebrate platinum and diamond weddings


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After being told they were too young to get married a couple have proved the doubters wrong by celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.

Nancy and Arthur Couchman, both in their 90s, received a card from the Queen and celebrated their marriage at an afternoon tea party.

The pair, who live at Barchester Homes, in Newington Court, have been together since they were 15, but were not given their parents approval to get married, so they had to wait till they turned 21 to tie the knot.

Arthur and Nancy Couchman with their card from the Queen
Arthur and Nancy Couchman with their card from the Queen

They eventually exchanged vows in March 1945, at St George’s Church in Ramsgate.

After their marriage, Arthur, now 91, was called up for national service and returned to the Army as a private.

“He took her face into his hands and kissed her. It made me cry. They love each other so much, them being back together is so lovely" - Lyn Mason from Barchester Homes

Following the war he had a career as a confectioner and later worked as a machine operator for CAV – a former car parts company in Rochester.

Nancy, now 90, was a housewife and spent her time bringing up their child, Jane.

Arthur, who recently broke his hip, was in hospital for three weeks and returned to the care home just in time to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Their daughter along with their three grandchildren and four great grandchildren were among friends and one of their bridesmaids who attended the celebration.

Lyn Mason, activities co-ordinator at Barchester Homes, said: “Arthur came home from the hospital, when he saw Nancy, they both burst into tears.

“He took her face into his hands and kissed her. It made me cry.

“They love each other so much, them being back together is so lovely.

“They hold hands every day and watch telly together.

Arthur and Nancy on their wedding day
Arthur and Nancy on their wedding day

“They are from a generation where if it’s broken, you fix it. Whereas now if it is broken, you throw it away.

“I think a lot of people can learn from them when it comes to marriage.”

“They say they still sleep in a spoon position every night and they go upstairs hand in hand" - Al and Sheila's daughter, Sandy Haddock

Also marking a special landmark were lifelong Sittingbourne residents Al and Sheila Carter who celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, which, to those not familiar with what material represents each year, is six decades of marriage.

The duo were joined by friends and family for an extra special sit-down lunch at the town’s Coniston Hotel - the same venue they had their wedding breakfast at after tying the knot 60 years ago at the Holy Trinity Church, on Dover Street.

Al and Sheila, who still live in their home of 54 years in Kenilworth Court, have spent their whole lives working in and around the town.

Now 83, Al worked as a fitter for Bowaters Paper Mill, while his wife, 80, spent a number of years as an assistant matron at Court Regis care home after she trained to be a nurse at Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital.

Sheila and Al Carter's Diamond wedding anniversary
Sheila and Al Carter's Diamond wedding anniversary

Their daughter, Sandy Haddock, said of the couple’s long union: “They say they still sleep in a spoon position every night and they go upstairs hand in hand.

“They also both love ballroom dancing and music. They said that way you could go to any function and ask anyone to dance, but they always danced together.

“My mum nursed and helped my dad keep going when things were rough and now he cares for her after she had a stroke.”

The happy couple were joined at last week’s celebration by their daughter and son, Terry, as well as their five grandchildren and step-grandchildren.

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