Diamond duo met at Bentall's dance

A couple who can trace their families back generations in Worthing have celebrated their diamond wedding.

Janette and Colin Short with the card from the Queen for their 60th wedding anniversary. Photo by Derek Martin DM1833739a
Janette and Colin Short with the card from the Queen for their 60th wedding anniversary. Photo by Derek Martin DM1833739a

Janette and Colin Short met at a dance and were married at St Matthew’s Church, in Tarring, Road, Worthing, on March 29, 1958.

Janette’s family has lived in Worthing since 1876 and Colin’s family were landscape gardeners in Offington.

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Born in Broadwater, Colin joined the Royal Marines at the age of 18 and was based at Eastney Barracks, where he served for seven years.

Janette and Colin Short on their wedding day, March 29, 1958

He said: “I used to go up and down on the train because you were allowed to live at home at the time.”

Janette started in the stationery department at W.H. Smith after she left school and went on to work at Bentall’s, starting on handbags. She and Colin met at a dance.

Colin explained: “There used to be all these pubs along Montague Street and we would go in them, then end up at the Plaza Ballroom. We had had a few drinks and got in there, and Bentall’s had their annual dance. We started dancing and Jan said I like dancing with a tall man and that was it.”

Janette was chosen as a model for Bentall’s and often appeared in adverts in the Worthing Herald in the 1960s.

Janette in the Worthing Herald on Friday, April 15, 1960

Colin said: “One of the ladies in fashion spoke to Jan and asked her to do the modelling and in those days, they used to walk around the store with a hat on. Then they got to go and model on the seafront.

“Jan had never seen me in my uniform, so I’m not sure she believed I was in the Royal Marines. They all used to come out of the back of Bentall’s, down Bank Passage, when they finished work so one day, I stood there in my Blues to meet her.

“I realised that Marines life wasn’t really a married life, so I came out at 25 and we were married in 1958.

“I look back at that time in the Royal Marines, they taught you to be a person, even how to do sewing. Then I had 40 years at BT, in a job I knew I had for life, and I think that has a lot to do with where we are now.”

They bought their first home in King Edward Avenue, then moved to Hurst Avenue. In 1985, they were driving along the seafront when they saw a bungalow for sale and have lived in Beachside Close, Goring, pretty much ever since.

The couple have three daughters, Elaine, Marion and Alison, and all still living in Worthing. They also have seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

They celebrated their anniversary with a meal at The Fox Patching for the two of them on the day, then a family party at the Windsor Hotel Worthing on Saturday. There will also be a big party at home later this month.

One of the biggest surprises was a card from the Queen, which brought Janette tears of joy.

She said: “I am absolutely blown away. It is the biggest surprise. I am thrilled, I really am.”