Two former nurses celebrated 60 years of marriage with their family at the Cooden Beach Hotel, Bexhill.
David Watling, who was born in Hastings, met wife to be Jennifer at Redhill hospital, Surrey. They weren’t ‘courting’ for long and were soon married in St Mary’s church, Ewern Minster, Dorset on November 5, 1955.
They spent the next 22 years living in married quarters while David served in the RAF nursing services in the UK and in the early 60’s RAF postings saw them living in Aden (Yemen) and Gan (Maldives) where, along with caring for RAF personnel, David also looked after the island’s natives.
The couple had three children, Ian, Veronica and Rosemary and have four grandchildren.
In 1973 David retired from the RAF and they moved to Hastings where he took up the post of clinical teacher at the Royal East Sussex Hospital (RESH), training nurses until he retired in 1992.
Jennifer, also a trained nurse, worked in male orthopaedics at the RESH, which son Ian says was handy for many of his mates. “Mum was well known by both my biker friends and Hastings bikers as she looked after them on the orthopaedic ward whenever they had a tumble off their bikes!”
Ian says his parents love of caring for others rubbed off on him and his siblings. “I’m a retired nurse, my sister Veronica is still a nurse and Rosemary teaches exercise classes.”
Ian says his mum and dad set a good example on harmonious relationships. “They showed us how to avoid fights,” he said. “And as a result myself and my sisters have all had long, successful relationships. I suppose if you were to ask my parents what’s the secret of their long marriage, I expect it’s that ‘it’s alright to disagree but there’s no point in arguing!” David and Jennifer now live in Bexhill and are looking forward to more wedding celebrations together.