A marriage solemnised during the worst winter in living memory is still going strong 50 years later.
Devizes couple Brian and Pam Reed, who live in Nursteed Road, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at the Bear Hotel last Saturday surrounded by more than 30 family members and close friends.
But it was touch and go whether their wedding at St Bartholomew’s Church in Wootton Bassett on February 23, 1963, would go ahead after the West Country had been paralysed by blizzards and deep snow drifts for months.
Mr Reed, a former superintendent with Wiltshire Police, said: “We were thinking we might have to cancel the wedding because of the weather. There was snow on the ground outside the church. But amazingly nearly all our guests made it.”
Their honeymoon was spent in London. Mrs Reed said: “We spent the whole week sightseeing. We visited the Planetarium, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.”
Mr Reed said: “We couldn’t afford to go to any West End shows. I was only earning £600 a year at the time.”
The couple met when they were teenagers at the church youth club in Wootton Bassett and were married six years later. Mr Reed started out working for Lloyds Bank but soon changed career and joined the police, working his way up to become deputy head of the CID, heading up several murder enquiries.
After returning from honeymoon, they were homeless. There was no police house available in Corsham, where Mr Reed was posted, so they shared a bungalow with another couple.
Mrs Reed said: “We had to share a cooker and we were given one shelf in the larder.”
The couple have two children, Karen and Kevin, and three grandchildren. They have lived in the Devizes area for 43 years.
Mrs Reed said: “We have always been completely outspoken with each other. I have never hidden if he’s getting on my nerves.”
Mr Reed paid tribute to his wife’s forbearance and understanding over the years. He said: “I have been lucky to find someone prepared to put up with the vagaries of my job. The phone might ring and take me off to a murder enquiry and I would be gone for three days. It does disrupt your family life but she has never complained.”