Wedding Service

Platinum wedding anniversary: ​​Burgess Hill couple celebrate 70 years together

Derek and Joan Rebbetts, of St John’s Avenue, celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary on Tuesday September 6, after marrying in 1952.

Derek, 90, and Joan, 91, first arrived in Burgess Hill in 1961, leaving north London where they grew up.

“When we got to Burgess Hill it was a small town, very compact,” Derek said.

Derek and Joan Rebbetts celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, September 6

He explained they had come to the area for his work as a pension consultant for Noble Lowndes and Partners in Croydon.

At first they didn’t know anyone, but they made friends, partly through the Methodist Church, and enjoyed being part of the Burgess Hill community.

Derek said: “Joan was involved for many years with the Comptonaires, which is a singing group, and I’ve been involved with the Model Railway Club pretty much since we came to Burgess Hill.”

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Derek and Joan Rebbetts celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, September 6

Joan said she loved to sing and dance while Derek had always been interested in trains.

Derek said: “We have enjoyed traveling by train and have traveled across Canada, America and Australia.

The couple met in 1943, after attending the same high school in North London.

They became close after the end of World War II and began chatting during a school trip to Box Hill.

Derek and Joan Rebbetts celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, September 6

The couple became engaged in 1950 but Derek entered National Service in the Air Force from July 1950 to July 1952.

He was posted to Egypt in May 1951, staying in the Middle East for 15 months.

During this time, they wrote to each other, and Joan made preparations for the wedding.

Their honeymoon lasted two weeks in Guernsey, traveling there on the Southampton steamer.

Derek and Joan Rebbetts celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, September 6

The couple now have four children, 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Joan said the key to a happy marriage is being “in tune” with each other and finding lots of things to do together.

She said: “We’re always on the go and we’re on the move a lot and we’ve had a lot of vacations, which we always try to do.”

Derek and Joan have two birthday celebrations planned: one in Hassocks this week and another in the Midlands on Saturday, the day after one of their grandsons’ wedding.