More than 50 years ago, two Horsham youngsters were set up on a blind date on Bonfire Night by their friends.
The evening was a great success, as tomorrow (Friday April 3) Robert and Valerie Stoner will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.
The couple’s wedding day at St Mary’s Church in the Causeway was celebrated in an edition of the County Times in 1965.
Robert’s role as a right back for Horsham Trinity Football Club is referred to in the headline ‘Back married’.
The football club was forced to cancel their fixtures on the day as the team attended Robert and Valerie’s wedding.
Reflecting on their marriage, Valerie, 71, said: “It does go quick. Your children grow up and your grandchildren grow up and you think ‘oh my God!’
“But you are only as old as you feel. If you keep busy and keep doing things, you will be fine.”
She also explained the reasons why their marriage has been a success, including Valerie having her own bank account.
She said: “Everyone who tells you they never argue lies.
“I think we do have fun, he has got a sense of humour and has to explain jokes to me.
“I suppose we do get on all right and we agree on most things.”
Robert, 72, explained that friends of the pair set them up on a blind date on Bonfire Night.
However Valerie has a different theory as to why they became a couple, months afterwards.
She said: “His mother said ‘he didn’t ask you out sooner because he would have had to buy a Christmas present!’”
The couple, who honeymooned in Jersey, have two children and four grandchildren.
They are celebrating their anniversary in Mexico and Valerie’s upcoming birthday in Antigua while on a cruise of the Americas.
Valerie joked: “It takes 50 years to train them - why give up something you have spent years training for something different? I will stick with him!”
Robert captained Roffey Cricket Club’s second team and was a darts captain, as well as an accomplished defender and record-setting striker for Horsham Trinity’s football teams.
His love for all sport, especially football, is accompanied by Valerie’s dislike of it.
He worked in heavy engineering, including at Gatwick Airport. Valerie worked as an office worker.
Robert added that the 50 years of their marriage had ‘flown by’.