Chichester couple celebrate platinum wedding anniversary

Frank and Marjorie Burden who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at their home in Chichester C110648-2
Frank and Marjorie Burden who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at their home in Chichester C110648-2

Prince William and Kate Middleton will have to go a long way to match the commitment which Frank and Marjorie Burden have shown to each other.

The couple, both aged 91, have just celebrated their 70th (platinum) wedding anniversary after they first met at a sports event in Priory Park, Chichester.

Born and bred in the city, the couple were introduced at the age of 16 when Frank was competing in a race at one of the popular Whitsun Monday events.

“Frank was a very good athlete,” said Marjorie.

“We watched these races and I saw this boy and he was doing very well in the 100 metres. A mutual friend introduced us and then at a later event we met again and he took me home.”

The couple married five years later at the age of 21, but were soon separated for six years after the outbreak of the second world war.

Frank fought in Burma for four years with the ‘Forgotten Army’ and did not come home once during that time.

Instead, Marjorie and Frank kept in touch through letters, and the couple have drawer full of all the letters they exchanged.

During that time Marjorie worked as a primary school teacher, first in the village of Shipley, near Horsham and then in Bognor Regis because her father was so worried about her being far away.

She was in charge of class of 52 three to five-year-olds and during her spare time she helped in the war effort as a part time fire marshal.

War ended in Japan in August 1945 and Frank returned from Burma in October and the couple recall their happy reunion.

Marjorie said: “I was living with my mother and father during the war and I wanted us to have a place of our own when he came back.

“Frank’s father helped me get somewhere to live in South Street.

“He came back from the station and I said, ‘well, you’ll have to carry me over the threshold’, and I think he did his best to.”

“It was wonderful, I thought the time was never going to come,” said Frank.

The couple started a family soon after his return and had three daughters and a son.

Frank worked for his father’s building business Frederick Hill Ltd which is still going today, after three generations in the family.

When the children were older, Marjorie spent many years doing supply work as a teacher.

They have ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren and celebrated with a family meal at Comme Ca where they were joined by family from Canada and eight of their grandchildren.

Marjorie said she could not believe they were celebrating 70 years and said they had passed quickly.

“It doesn’t seem possible – we feel very privileged that we are still together,” she said.