There was nothing particularly unusual about the breakfast to which Reg and Florrie Evely sat down on Thursday June 18.
Nothing, perhaps, other than the modest meal of eggs, toast, marmalade and coffee was breakfast number 24,818 the two had enjoyed in each other’s company.
The Hastings couple celebrated their sixty-eighth wedding anniversary – and in all those years have only spent two nights apart when Florrie had a brief stay in hospital recently.
The remarkable pair were married in 1947 just a couple of months after the then Princess Elizabeth had announced her engagement to a young Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.
“We beat the Queen to the altar by five months,” 91-year-old Florrie laughed. “And like them, we’ve been together ever since.” Like the Royal Couple, the Evelys are still living together in their own home.
Despite having a combined age of 185. Reg, 94, takes the car out once a week to the supermarket and between them they take care of the laundry, keep the house spick and span, worry that the weeds are coming up in the front path again and complain that there’s “not much worth watching on the telly these days because it’s all repeats”.
Reg, born and bred in Cornwall, was already in the Territorial Army when war was declared in 1939 and swiftly found himself drafted into the Royal Artillery. He was posted to a number of anti-aircraft batteries along the South Coast until he finally arrived in Hastings.
He was billeted in a house in Old London Road – which happened to be opposite the sweet shop run by Florrie’s mother.
Reg was posted elsewhere as the war progressed but he promised he’d come back for Florrie – and he did.
The couple married at All Souls’ Church, in Athelstan Road, on June 18, 1947 and held their reception in the restaurant above the former Ritz Cinema, in Cambridge Road, which today is the ESK store.
Said Reg: “I can’t remember us having a real ding-dong row in all the time we’ve been together. We’ve had some wonderful holidays and some great times. It’s been a good life.”
And Florrie’s explanation for a marriage that has lasted so long? “He’s always right about everything,” she laughed. “And, unlike my mother, I learned how to keep my temper!”
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