Shared love of music brought Bognor couple together 60 years ago

A Bognor Regis couple whose love of music brought them together more than 60 years ago are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

Betty and Mick McGovern met at a Sainsbury’s in 1958 – Mick’s dad, William McGovern, was manager of the shop and Betty was with her parents, Peter and Eva Turner, who ran the Commercial Hotel in Station Road.

That evening Mick was playing in the skiffle group The 7 Sinners and Peter suggested Betty should get up and sing – and the rest is history.

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The couple got engaged in 1959, celebrated with a party at the Masonic Hall, and were married on October 9, 1960, at St John’s Church.

Mick and Betty McGovern 60 years ago

Betty and Mick both worked at the Commercial Hotel, while Mick also ran a kiosk in West Park.

In 1968, they took over Money’s Dairies, in Station Road, and when the Commercial closed in 1974, Eva joined them at Money’s.

They made great friends in the area, such as Eddie and Nancy Chandler at the Post Office next door, and Freddie and Sally Davis from Davis’ Greengrocers – the last surviving shop of that era in Station Road.

They recall there was also John Twine’s, the gentleman’s clothing shop; Peter Derry’s, the bakers with Barry and Audrey Ursell; Mick Alderton in the fish shop; the Bognor Regis Observer office; and Terry Turner, Betty’s eldest brother, at his café across the road.

Mick and Betty McGovern celebrating their wedding anniversary with family last year

Mick formed the Barbaloo Jazz Men in 1968, playing at The Robin Hood in Shripney, with Paul Davison, Don Mitchell, Derek Debuse, Barry Reeve, Butch Holden and Martin Jones.

When they disbanded in 1973, Mick started the Mike Barry 5, who played at The Clarehaven Hotel and the Riverside Ballroom, among other venues.

Betty joined the band on vocals, with Mick on drums, Paul on vocals and trumpet, Barry on bass, and Pete Dixon joined on keyboard.

In 1991, Mick and Betty sold Money’s Dairies and moved to The Woodstock House Hotel in Charlton, near Goodwood, where they spent 15 happy years providing home-cooked food and entertainment for guests with their music – and Eva continued to help in the kitchen well into her 90s.

Mick and Betty love spending time with their family.

They have three children, Paula, Clare and Debbie; four grandchildren, Megan, George, Alfie and Jessica; and a great-granddaughter, Mollie.

They have also enjoyed travelling, particularly to France but also many cruises over the latter years.

Mick and Betty’s family wished them a very happy diamond anniversary, and many more to come!


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