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PEOPLE: RICHARDS, Josephus W (Billy) RICHARDS and Jean (nee CURNOW) - married 23 Feb 1952

01March 2002 - Somerset County Gazette

Josephus W (Billy) RICHARDS and Jean (nee CURNOW) - married 23 Feb 1952

Fifty years together, but Billy and Jean wouldn't change a thing

The Lizard Reading Room was rocking to the sounds of Raymond Rowe and his dance band when Porthleven couple Billy and Jean Richards first clapped eyes on one another.

Romance blossomed and 50 years on the pair, who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Saturday, say they are as close now, if not closer, than when they first married.

Born in Porthleven, Billy went to the village's board school and later to Helston Grammar School.

On leaving school, he worked for a time at a solicitor's office in Helston, before going into the army to complete his National Service.

It was soon after coming out of the army that he and a group of friends decided to take a taxi to a dance at the Lizard, and Billy was to catch his first glimpse of his bride-to-be.

Jean, nee Curnow, who grew up and went to school at the Lizard, later worked at two local hotels - the Polbrean and the Caerthillian - and was also employed at nearby Trethvas Farm, making butter and cream.

She had an identical twin sister, Joan, but it was Jean who Billy set out to woo - only getting the sisters mixed up once during their 18-month courtship.

With public transport limited, Billy regularly used to cycle from Porthleven to the Lizard and back to see Jean.

The couple were married on February 23, 1952, at the Methodist chapel at the Lizard and held their reception at the Lizard Hotel - now The Top House.

After living briefly in Helston, they moved to Billy's parents' house in Wellington Road, Porthleven - where they have lived ever since and where Billy still sleeps in the bedroom in which he was born.

Following the family tradition, he fished out of Porthleven and Newlyn for several years after the wedding, before opting for a more secure living as a representative for Radio Rentals.

He then worked as county supervisor for Courts furniture, later becoming the company's regional accounts controller for the West of England and Wales - a position he held until his retirement.

A member of Mousehole Male Voice Choir for several years, Billy has been treasurer of the Porthleven Fishermen and Boatowners' Association for over 20 years and still works around 40 pots out of the port during the summer.

He has been the safety officer for Porthleven Pilot Gig Club since it was formed in 1991 and only stood down as the club's vice-chairman last year after a decade in the role.

Jean, who enjoys gardening and cooking, used to be caretaker at the former church school in Porthleven and took on the position of site supervisor when the village's new primary school was built.

The couple have three sons - Clive, Alan and Jeremy - seven grandchildren and one great grandchild, born only a month ago.

Most of the family, and many friends, were present at the anniversary celebrations at Wheal Dream, Helston, on Saturday, when Billy and Jean cut a splendid cake made by daughter-in-law, Karen, and iced by Mary Oliver.

Asked about their life together, Billy said: "We have had 50 splendid years. We still love each other's company and do everything together. I wouldn't change a thing about her."

Jean, who is brought breakfast in bed by her husband every morning, said simply: "He's an absolute gem. I could not imagine life without him."

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