Teamwork and helping each other are the key to a successful marriage, say diamond duo Pat and Fred Faulkner.
The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday, having met at a dance when Pat was 15 and Fred 18.
Pat, 79, said it was lucky she met Fred, as it eventually led to her whole family moving out of London, where she was born.
Pat left school at the age of 15 and came down for a holiday before starting work in the capital. She stayed with an aunt in Petworth and went to her first dance in Easebourne, where she met Fred.
They used to see each other once a month but when Pat’s mum became ill, the family moved to Tillington.
Pat said: “Wasn’t it lucky I met Freddie because we came to live in this nice place and got out of London.”
Fred, 82, was born in Midhurst and was a choirboy at Midhurst Parish Church, where they were married on December 7, 1957.
Fred’s sisters, Daphne and Joyce, had both married the same year. Pat and Fred had not planned to marry that December but the chance of a flat came up in the October.
Pat explained: “In those days, you did not move in together unless you had your wedding planned, so that is what we did.
“We have had a wonderful life. It doesn’t feel like 60 years in any way, shape or form. We help each other – it’s teamwork, as he is always saying to me.”
Fred did an apprenticeship as a carpenter in Midhurst but then had two years in the RAF doing his National Service.
He said: “Going into the RAF taught me that you do need to get some further education, which I did do, and I ended up with a better job than I had in the first place as a result.
“It has been a contented life. We found it a struggle until I worked for the council but my sister was very good to me.”
He was a carpenter and joiner until the age of 39, when he started work as a clerk and then became a building surveyor. Fred ended up working for West Sussex County Council as a building maintenance surveyor on police properties, before he retired 22 years ago.
Pat, who worked until she was 62, had always done bookwork and also took the opportunity to learn to type while Fred was doing National Service.
They lived in Tillington for 18 years, bringing up their two sons, Phil and Nigel. Phil is now project engineer at Archibald Shaw in Chichester and Nigel part-owns Buzby and Blue in The Hornet.