Celebrating 60 years of marriage

Cyril and Muriel Mills have celebrated their diamond wedding
Cyril and Muriel Mills have celebrated their diamond wedding

Diamond duo Cyril and Muriel Mills met through cycling and have been in tandem ever since.

The couple celebrated 60 years of marriage yesterday, having brought up a family of four children together.

The wedding at Sidlesham parish church on October 26, 1957

The wedding at Sidlesham parish church on October 26, 1957

Cyril, 80, and Muriel, 83, lived in a house in Chichester city centre for 53 years before moving to a bungalow in Mansfield Road, North Bersted, six years ago.

They met in Sidlesham, when Cyril was 16 and Muriel 18, and were married at the parish church, St Mary Our Lady, on October 26, 1957.

Muriel said: “There was a gang that used to go out cycling on a Sunday, then we just broke off and went out on our own.

“We used to go off for bike rides. We were courting for five years before we were married.”

Muriel’s family had come to the village with Sidlesham Land Settlement Association and lived on the Fletchers Estate, while Cyril was born in London and lived in Guildford before moving to Sidlesham.

Their first home together was a rented bungalow in Selsey. They then bought a house in Whyke Lane, Chichester, where they brought up Alan, Jacqueline, Wendy and David, and lived there for 53 years.

Cyril was an electrician and did his apprenticeship in Chichester. He still enjoys working on the tools and has a workshop down the garden.

He said: “I have always been active. Muriel calls me a workaholic. It is no good sitting down while you die, you have got to be doing something while you wait.”

Muriel added: “He can’t stop. His legs automatically steer him to the garage.

“We have had a pretty colourful life, ups and downs, the odd glitch, but really it was all good until Cyril went into hospital.”

Cyril had trouble with a painful shoulder in December but after a couple of months of treatment, a second doctor said it was actually angina.

He was sent for tests at St Richard’s Hospital, where he was told he had a widow maker heart and could not go home. Days later, he was having a triple heart bypass at Southampton General Hospital. The surgeon said it was a good job he was fit, which has helped him to recover well.

Muriel enjoys reading and Cyril does a lot of photography. He has contributed a number of images to the Observer newspaper over the years.

Cyril said: “I used to love going down to the canal when the beech trees are all colour, it is lovely down there.”

The couple said they had good neighbours in Chichester and are lucky to have found good neighbours in North Bersted, too.

Muriel said: “They soon got to know Cyril. They all come to him if they need help. We feel as if we have always lived here.”