Chichester couple celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

Bernard and Olive Hammond celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary
Bernard and Olive Hammond celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary
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With a telegram from the Queen and a visit from the mayor of Chichester it was a busy morning for Bernard and Olive Matthews as they celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary.

Family gathered round the couple as they opened their royal letter signed by the Queen at their home at St James Road, Chichester, on April 23.

Mayor Tony French also paid them a visit to pass on his congratulations with a bunch of flowers.

More than 40 friends joined the couple, both 92 years old, for a lunch and party at their home over the weekend for their 70th anniversary.

“We had a wonderful time,” said Mr Hammond. “There were people here who we hadn’t seen for a long time. Even my old doctor turned up.”

After their visit from the mayor, the platinum wedding couple visited the church in Fishbourne where they married 70 years ago, accompanied by family. They were both blessed by Rev David Hider during a special ceremony.

Their son Richard said: “I think they are both marvellous. Quite simply they compliment each other – they are a team. I think mother has been a stalwart for dad, especially when he was ill, she supported him through all that.”

Mr Hammond, who attended Chichester High School for Boys, first met Mrs Hammond in Fishbourne when they were both 15 years old. They married during the war on April 23, 1942, at the Fishbourne church.

Mrs Hammond said: “We had to get permission from the Dean at Chichester Cathedral before we could get married. We then went to a farm in Buckinghamshire for our honeymooon.”

Mrs Hammond joined the Land Army after Mr Hammond had signed up with the army to go to the south of France. After that he became a police officer, and was also with the RAF for 13 years. The couple have three children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.