Willingdon's platinum pair

A couple from Willingdon have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Sunday, 3rd April 2016, 7:00 am
Platinum Wedding Couple Mr and Mrs Atkins (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160331-081343008
Platinum Wedding Couple Mr and Mrs Atkins (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160331-081343008

Miriam and Royston Atkins met during in London during the Blitz in World War Two, when they were just teenagers.

There were times when they were apart for long periods of times, when Royston was sent to Germany, Holland and Belgium while serving in the Army.

Miriam said, “We kept in touch by letter.

“That was the only way back then, of course.”

The couple married on March 30, 1946 at St Andrew’s Church in Southgate, North London.

Miriam said, “I was 19 when we got married and he was 21.

“He had just been demobbed after three-and-a-half years in the Army and all he had was his demob suit, so he got married it that.

“After all, rationing was still going on so we didn’t have much really.”

The couple moved in to a flat together in Palmers Green.

Miriam said, “We just had utility furniture and it wasn’t always easy to makes end meet.”

Miriam was a dressmaker and she told the Herald it was a brilliant way to save money. As one of eight children, she had learnt to sew to patch-up the hand-me-down clothes of her siblings.

They lived in their flat for five years while they saved to buy a house.

Royston worked as an apprentice draftsman when they were first married.

He started the apprenticeship before being called up to the Army and went back after being demobilised.

Royston then went on to become an engineer at BBC Television Centre, where he worked for many years before taking early retirement.

The couple had two children Hayley, now 49, and Bradley, now 45.

Hayley lives in Bexhill and Bradley lives in Crawley.

Miriam and Royston are also grandparents to Bradley’s 17-year-old son Nathan.

Miriam and Royston moved to Eastbourne almost 40 years ago and now live in a home which backs on to the Downs in Willingdon.

Miriam is now 89 but still does alterations from time to time. Royston is now 92.

They say the secret to a happy marriage is loyalty and a good sense of humour.

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