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Hornchurch couple who got engaged in a pub celebrate diamond wedding anniversary

Bill and Pat Churchill marked their diamond wedding day with a party surrounded by friends and family. Picture: Sandra Rowse Bill and Pat Churchill marked their diamond wedding day with a party surrounded by friends and family. Picture: Sandra Rowse

Sunday, March 9, 2014
6:00 PM

When Bill Churchill was running to his own wedding in 1954 after the car he was in broke down, celebrating his diamond wedding anniversary must have seemed a long way off.

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But glasses were raised on Thursday as he and wife Pat marked 60 years of marriage with a party surrounded by friends and family.

Bill 92, and Pat, 91, married on February 27 1954, after first meeting in 1948 as members of a social club started by Bill and a friend upon their return from navy service in the Second World War.

The celebration last week was held at Ashgrove Nursing Home in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, where Pat now lives, and Bill said the party was a “marvellous affair.”

“It was very good indeed,” he said. “We had lots of family there, including our son Peter and my great great grandchildren.

“It was lovely to see friends I don’t see much of these days.”

The Hornchurch couple first met when Pat became a member of the Ford Social Club, and founder Bill, who refers to Pat as “honeybell”, took a while to ask her out.

“We didn’t start our relationship until about 1952,” said Bill. “That’s when it got serious, and after some time I asked her to marry me in a pub.”

Their wedding day was not without incident, as Bill was forced to run to the church when his brother’s car broke down.

The couple often enjoyed trips to seaside resorts, and Bill spoke of how they made a great team, with him “not knowing how to look at a map.”

“We used to go to Southport and Hull in the north, to Brighton and along to Devon and Cornwall. “Pat used to do all the navigating. If it was left to me we would never have got anywhere!” he quipped.

Pat now suffers from dementia (NEED TO CONFIRM CONDITION) but Bill was delighted to see her chatting with guests at the party.

“As I was doing the rounds people were surrounding her and she was laughing along. It was lovely.”

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