‘Loving’ Horsham couple celebrate 60 years of marriage

A Horsham couple have celebrated their diamond wedding six decades after first meeting in the town.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 4:03 pm

Andrew and Jessica Farquhar marked the anniversary yesterday, March 25.

They first met at Brighton Road Baptist Church Young People’s Fellowship and started dating in May 1957, when Andrew was 18 and Jessica, 17, their daughter Judie Donovan said.

She added: “Unfortunately celebrations with family and friends will have to wait until lockdown restrictions are relaxed but their children have a few surprises for them on the day, mostly virtual, hopefully including a congratulatory message from the Queen if all goes to plan!”

Andrew and Jessica Farquhar

Andrew attended Collyer’s Grammar School and Jessica was a pupil at Horsham High School for Girls (now Tanbridge House School). She achieved a secretarial diploma at Brighton College and worked as a receptionist at Pickfords Travel Agency in Worthing Road, Horsham from 1958-1962.

They married at Brighton Road Baptist Church on March 25 1961 and their first child, Alistair came along in July 1962. He was followed by daughters Judie in 1965 and Kirstie in 1968.

Judie said: “Our parents have always been a very loving couple and I’ve always felt their love, support and encouragement.

“They compliment each other very well and I don’t remember hearing many arguments!

Andrew and Jessica Farquhar on their wedding day

“Like any family, we have tough times and Mum particularly has had her ‘in sickness and in health’ marriage vows tested to the limit with all Dad’s injuries over the years, mostly sports-related! Their links to Horsham are so strong and because of that, even though I’ve moved around with my own family, Horsham will always feel like home.”

Daughter Kirstie Smillie added: “I often remember, and refer to, a poem on marriage we had up in the family kitchen when we were growing up.

“It spoke of allowing each other to have space to grow, not stopping your partner from trying and achieving new things. Dad would cycle and walk often and Mum had her friends and art club. They were happy apart which made them stronger together.”

After doing his national service in the Army 1958-1960 and following several jobs in accounts, Andrew became finance director at the National Fund for Research into Crippling Diseases (now Action Medical Research) based in North Parade, from 1972 to 1994. It was during this time, in the late 1970s, that he and his three children narrowly missed being killed when they inadvertently handled a bomb disguised as a Christmas present, which had been left in the former offices of the National Fund in central Horsham by a student, who passionately disagreed with some research connected to the Fund at that time, Judie said. Fortunately the highly explosive hand-made bomb failed to detonate when picked up. Between 1994 and 2004, Andrew worked for several charities, including the Snowdon Trust, Sussex Society for the Blind and a medical research charity called Search. In 2004, Andrew retired.

Jessica worked as a receptionist at Park Surgery in Horsham in the mid-70s, Judie said. She then worked as sales assistant in an independently-run boutique in the Carfax in the 1980s. Jessica later trained as a beauty therapist and had her own business during the 1980s and 90s.

Grandchildren started to arrive between 1991 and 2003, three grandsons and three granddaughters and Jessica and Andrew enjoy spending time with them, although, apart from one, they’ve all left home and live bit further away.