From feeding tigers to cuddling pandas a couple from Pease Pottage have been through quite a few adventures in their 60 years of marriage.
Ron and Joan Cheesman celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last Thursday, December 18, and said they were ‘privileged’ to be commemorating the milestone and were amazed with some of the adventures they had been on together.
The love story began more than 60 years ago at Horsham railway station. Ron was travelling back to his house in County Oak, near Crawley, whilst Joan was on her way home to Pease Pottage.
“It all began when we caught site of each other at Horsham train station,” Joan said. “I was on the train coming home from Horsham High School for Girls. Ron was on the platform waiting to come home from the technical school in Roffey. I said to my friends who’s that gorgeous boy and they said that was little Ronnie Cheesman.”
A few weeks later the couple bumped into each other on the stairs of the station and the rest as they say is history. Ron was 15 and Joan 14 when they met and within five years they were happily married.
“We got married on the December 18, 1954, at two o’clock in the afternoon at St Mary’s Church in Slaugham,” Joan continued. “I was 19 and Ron had just turned 20.
“I am the envy of everybody who knows us. I was so lucky to have met him when I did.”
The pair have been on a lot of adventures in their many years together. From sleeping in an igloo to feeding tigers and exploring ice sculptures but one moment in China sticks out above the rest.
“We have done some amazing things, some unbelievably amazing things,” Joan said. “The best moment I remember was cuddling a real life baby panda. Everybody said you won’t be able to do it, even the Chinese embassy said you won’t be able to do it. We were so lucky, we are some of the only people in the world to ever do it.”
Despite all the adventures the two of them have been on both Ron, 80, and Joan, 79, agreed that it was their family they were most grateful for.
The pair have four children and have also welcomed six grandchildren into the world and said they couldn’t be happier.
“I always think we are blessed and very lucky,” Joan said. “We have four children and a very loving family. We have never wanted anything more. We have never wanted to move and we have we are content with what we have got. We are not jealous of anybody. We are so privileged to be here.”
To celebrate the anniversary the family threw a party in the couple’s honour last weekend. Friends and neighbours from Cheshire, Kent and even Germany turned up to congratulate the pair and cut the cake to mark the milestone.