A BASINGSTOKE couple celebrating their blue sapphire wedding anniversary has shared their secret on what it takes to sustain a happy and healthy relationship.

Judy and Les Codman of Seymour Road are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary on Friday, January 14.

Looking back at their married life, Judy, 84, and Les, 85, said their secret has been the underlying love and respect for each other.

She said: “[The secret is] The fact that we have similar intellectual levels and a strong sense of humour. Some biting of the tongue helps too.”

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Judy was 16 when she first met Les in 1953, the year of the Queen’s Coronation, on the pier in Southsea.

She had left school and he was studying Marine Engineering as a SHELL apprentice at Portsmouth Polytechnic and missing his home in Birkenhead.

After four years of correspondence, while he sailed the world, the two impulsively married on one of his infrequent leaves in 1957.

“We moved to Basingstoke in 1969 with our young daughter to better job prospects and a lovely new house in Kempshott,” Judy said.

“We settled in well. Les joined Basingstoke Golf Club and I joined BATS [Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society]. Basingstoke has been very good to us.”

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Judy later became a Careers Adviser and subsequently moved to Basingstoke College of Technology where she finally retired as a senior lecturer.

As Les was running his own business, the couple took early retirement and went to live in Spain for several years.

Judy added: “Meanwhile our daughter met and married (they are celebrating 43 years of marriage) and produced our three grandsons of whom we are extremely proud. They in turn have all married and presented us with six wonderful great-grandchildren.Basingstoke Gazette: Judy and Les Codman with their children, grand children and great-grand childrenJudy and Les Codman with their children, grand children and great-grand children

“Finally, 12 years ago we returned here and resettled happily close to the family.”

However, the last two years have been very testing for the couple and their children. Judy said they have weathered it by trying to keep busy and giving up outside pursuits like bowling, choir, etc.

While Les took up painting and continued his model shipbuilding, Judy was busy with knitting, cross-stitch and reading.

The couple had received a congratulations message from the Queen for their 60th wedding anniversary and are awaiting the same for their 65th.

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Kimberley Barber