Former newsagents from Shropshire are enjoying retirement in Shoreham, where they have made some lovely new friends.
So, it was quite a party on Saturday when Ken and Julie Turner celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary at Sussex Yacht Club.
Ken, 94, and Julie, 90, have lived in St Mary’s Close for eight years and have made some good friends among their neighbours. They also play whist once a week with ‘a very nice group’ in Southwick and enjoy walking and gardening.
The move down south was prompted partly by a bout of ill health for Ken. Daughter Rosalind Turner, who runs Shoreham Wordfest, was keen to have her parents closer, and Julie’s brother Peter Savage and his wife Pat had lived in Hove for some time, so they were finally persuaded to leave the West Midlands.
Ken, Julie and Rosalind now have an allotment together at Hamfield, in Eastern Avenue, Shoreham, and enjoy growing lots of vegetables.
Rosalind said: “We all love Shoreham, it is a lovely lifestyle here. You have the river, you have the sea, lovely parks and the Downs. They use the bus a lot and you can go to London so easily, it’s terrific.
“They have always been splendid parents, grandparents and great grandparents, and fantastic role models on how to lead a happy and worthwhile life together.”
Ken and Julie were both born in Derbyshire and met at a pub in Simmondsley.
Julie explained: “My parents kept the local pub and he used to come in for a shandy. I had a job but I used to help out. I used to be very, very shy when I was young but the pub changed that. I always used to call my father Daddy but all the men in the pub used to mimic me so I soon stopped that.”
Julie was 17 when her parents took over the pub. Ken’s parents lived down the lane and they used to pop in regularly for a drink, so Julie and Ken had known each other for a while before they got together.
Ken and Julie married on August 21, 1948, at Charlesworth Parish Church and have two children, Rosalind and Clive.
Ken loves to tell people: “I married the landlord’s daughter.”
He was a stoker on the railway, a reserved occupation in the Second World War, and his father was a signalman.
Ken said: “It was tremendous, especially at speed. We used to have troop trains and coal trains. They were long days.”
Julie said it was hard work for Ken, who worked on the railways until they moved to Shropshire in 1953.
Julie’s parents had become tired of the late hours at the pub and decided to go for a change. They got talking to a couple who were retiring from a newsagents in Shropshire and agreed to take it over, ending up with a chain of three shops.
Julie’s parents persuaded her and Ken to join them in the business and they lived in Shropshire for 57 years before moving to Shoreham.
Julie said: “It was so busy, they couldn’t cope, so they asked if we might want to go down, which we did after a while. It was very much a change from working late to working early.”
Her father died at the age of 61 and she and Ken took over two of the three newsagents, calling them Turner and Savage.
Julie said: “We did enjoy it. We got to know such a lot of people.”
Ken joined the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and became chairman for the area, so they used to go to conferences all over the country.
Ken said: “I enjoyed that, meeting people all the time.”
Ken was also a prominent member of the crown green bowling club and became the president. He has not joined a bowls club down south because he says ‘it’s different down here’.
Once the club started allowing women to play, Julie also got involved and she said they had ‘lots of happy times there’.
Julie said they enjoyed many adventurous holidays together in the 1970s and 1980s, to Russia, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Far East, Canada and America. Even recently, they have been to France, Spain and Poland, the latter for the christening of their third great grandchild.
Peter and Pat have also just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, having married on August 14, 1948, a week before Ken and Julie.
Julie said: “When people start talking about our long marriage, Ken always says ‘never a cross word’, which isn’t true, of course.”
They have one grandson, Alex, and three great grandchildren.