After marrying at just 18 and 20, a Dartmouth couple are celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Jean and Peter Atkins, both “born and bred in Dartmouth” met when they were still teenagers and initially, Peter was going out with one of Jean’s friends.

“Peter was going out with a friend of mine”, Jean said, “I was always with them as the gooseberry. Then the friend decided she didn’t want him anymore, so I picked up the pieces”, she laughed, while Peter said “I ended up with the gooseberry!”

They were together for three years before getting married, but they were so young they had to get permission from Jean’s parents to allow them to tie the knot in St Clement Church, Dartmouth, on August 24, 1968.

Over the next 50 years, Jean worked at Dartmouth Hospital as an administrator for 34 years, while Peter has spent time working for South West Water, Dartmouth Hospital and local councils, with Jean calling him her “man of many talents”.

Talking about the secret to a long and happy marriage, Jean and Peter said “give and take, and understanding”. But Jean added that she was also a talented martial artist, as Peter used to help run the local karate club, and reckons she could “still take him”.

They are now enjoying their retirement and spend time motor-homing together.Congratulations to Jean and Peter, and many happy returns for your anniversary from all of us at South Hams Newspapers.