A CHANCE meeting in Southend-on-Sea ended in 60 years of happy marriage for Brownsover couple George and Pat Tullis.
The couple, who married on November 1, 1951, will celebrate their special day with a family meal.
George, 84, and Pat, 81, met at the seaside town and have been together ever since.
“I was stationed there when I was in the Army and Pat was staying with a friend,” said George, who is originally from Scotland.
The couple didn’t have much money to go on dates but did enjoy the odd trip to the pictures.
George, who worked his way up to become a sergeant in the Army, spent three years on a tour in Malaya and was later mentioned in dispatches for his bravery.
“I missed him a lot,” said Pat, a bookkeeper from Hornchurch, a town on the edge of east London.
“We used to write to each other all the time and one day I came home from work and found George sitting on my mother’s settee. I was in shock!”
They married at St Andrew’s Church in Hornchuch and have lived all over the country, following the demands of George’s job as an engineer.
He finished at the GEC in Rugby and only recently retired in his role as secretary of National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association UK.
Pat might not have lived to see the day had it not been for the quick-thinking actions of her mother.
She recalls: “When I was nine I was an evacuee during the war and got sent to Somerset.
“My mother was listening to the radio and she heard sirens going off and they were coming to Bristol. She sent for me to come home and we later found out the farm where we staying got bombed, killing the people who looked after me and their children.”
They have three children - Adrian, Andrea and Deborah - and four grandchildren, Lucy, Joshua, George and Jasmine. George likes spending time on the computer and Pat enjoys watching sports including snooker and tennis.
The diamond couple agree the secret to a long lasting marriage is simply being there for each other.