IN 1954, sisters Sheila and Shirley Offord married their sweethearts Tony Brewis and Peter Billing at a double wedding in London.
Sheila was 22, Shirley was 19, and - unusually for the time - their special day was captured on film, in colour.
On July 24, the sprightly and still extremely close quartet celebrate 60 years of togetherness with their Diamond Wedding anniversaries.
Sheila and Tony will be marking the occasion by taking their family on a week’s cruise in Europe, while Shirley and Peter entertain their clan at the luxury St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay.
Originally from London, Sheila, Shirley and their younger sister Hilary first came to Pembrokeshire during World War II. Their father, Lieutenant Commander Henry Offord, was Milford Haven’s welfare and amenities officer during the conflict.
Within months of returning to the capital in 1947, Shelia and Shirley met their future husbands. Tony was an executive with Rolls Royce. Peter was an electronic design engineer who went on to become a company director.
Sheila and Tony, who have three children and three grandchildren, lived in London, Derbyshire and Paris before retiring to Pembrokeshire.
Shirley and Peter have three children and six grandchildren. The pair retired to Burton Ferry after spending 20 years sailing around the world in a 35ft yacht. They lived in Australia, the USA, Taiwan, Singapore and Shanghai during their travels.
The offspring of both couples clearly share their parents’ adventurous tendencies, and live scattered across the globe.
“We all four are wanderers,” said Tony. “But Pembrokeshire has always had a magnetic pull for all of us.”
Sheila and Tony met at a dance on Whit Monday, 1948. Tony was called up soon after.
Sheila said the secret of a long, happy marriage was simple: “All you need a strong constitution, a good sense of humour, a cheerful disposition and a short memory!” she laughed.
Peter, who met Shirley on Christmas Day 1949, did his national service after getting married.
“She was 15 then, and I haven’t managed to escape yet,” he joked. “We spent 20 years on a small boat, so we had to be friends!”
When asked how their relationship had changed over the years, Shirley gave a touching reply: “We need each other even more now than we did at the beginning.”