A COUPLE have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary as their lifelong companionship stands the test of time.
Bill and Pam William Mather, who were both born in 1928 and are now 91 years old, met when they were growing up in Greenford, London, on neighbouring streets.
Marking their anniversary on Tuesday with a visit from their youngest daughter Alison Armes (62) and her husband, the couple were excited to receive a congratulatory letter from the Queen who celebrated her platinum wedding anniversary with Prince Philip two years ago.
After marrying they moved to Fordingbridge where they have lived for nearly 50 years. Pam moved to St Elmo Care Home in nearby Poulner two years ago as she suffers from dementia and requires specialist care from staff, with Bill visiting three to four times and week.
Alison said: “My parents are quite famous at the home when Bill comes in to visit. Their relationship is so much better now my dad doesn’t have the stress of caring for mum on his own.
“My older sister Susan lives in Marlow and doesn’t drive so unfortunately she was not able to visit our parents on the day, but we were able to do a video call so she could see them and all the lovely cards they received.”
Living in the city during the Second World War when they were young, Bill and Pam remembered encountering a near miss from a German V1 bomb.
Bill said: “I will always remember when we were in the park together during an air raid and we saw a doodlebug come down over us. We both ran one way and then another way and then the other to get away.”
Bill was called up on national service and joined Army in 1947 when Pam was working as a shorthand typist and he served until 1949 when the couple married.
“Although we lived in different streets, when we got married we bought the house next to Pam’s mum and dad and we lived there for many years,” said Bill. “After that we moved to Fordingbridge.
“We celebrated our honeymoon on the Isle of Wight and it was lovely. We only had £10 and that was all the money we needed as it used to get you a fortune at the time.”
Upon leaving the Army, Bill started his own plumbing and business, working as a heating engineer. When the couple moved to Fordingbridge in the 1970s he got a job at the Tyrrell and Green department store in Southampton.
After retiring, he started holding coffee mornings for ex-colleagues which he still attends today.
Pam worked at a few jobs including being a receptionist at an opticians before she ended up as an auxiliary nurse at Fordingbridge Cottage Hospital.
Alison continued: “The home here is amazing. The staff set up a table with all of their cards and flowers and they have been so supportive, mum and dad are delighted and very happy.
“It is so uncommon for someone of my age, to still have both of their parents which is wonderful, so much so that my husband and I live in London but will be moving down south soon to be closer to them.
Bill added: “I really want to give a very big thank you to the care home and the staff. They laid everything out for us, put up pictures and balloons and even did Pam’s nails for her. They have done so much for her and we are really thankful.”