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Diamond wedding delight for Grange Farm couple

Jan 15th 2015 at 11:19 PM

A COUPLE who have farmed in Oxfordshire most of their lives will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary today.

Philip and Eva Clements have lived and worked at Lyford’s Grange Farm near Wantage since 1964.

Now in their retirement, Mr Clements, still helps his son Richard organise game shoots there while his wife makes their home and garden beautiful.

Inbetween they spend time with their two children, three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

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Mr Clements said the secret to their long marriage had been his wife.

Philip and Eva Clements celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary today                  Picture: OX72056 Ed Nix
picture: bridesmaid dresses

The 79-year-old said: “We’ve had our ups and downs but she has been an excellent wife. She does everything; always has my dinner on the table when I come home.”

The couple were born six miles from each other in Gloucestershire, she in Fairford and he in Barnsley, both to farming families. They met at the Cirencester Mop fair when she was just 15 and he was two years older.

Mrs Clements, nee Howse, remembered: “I was with a friend, and he was with a friend, and they just kept following us around.”

Mr Clements said: “I saw her and I thought ‘that’s the girl for me, she looks just right’.”

He kept pursuing her, and joined a square dancing class in Fairford to get to know her better.

His efforts paid off and they were married just two years later, when he was 19 and she was 17, at Cirencester Registration Office.

They moved in with his parents in Hardwick near Witney, and Mrs Clements took a job at Smith’s blanket factory in Witney for two years until their daughter Angela arrived in 1955. Richard was born in 1960.

They moved to Oxfordshire in 1963 when Mr Clements took a job at Blackacres Farm in Goosey, near Stanford in the Vale. After 18 months they moved to Grange Farm, which he managed for owners Colonel Johnny Dingwall and then his son Charlie, for 50 years until he retired at 66.

Mrs Clements, meanwhile, had a series of jobs, first at Kingfeast turkey factory in Kingston Bagpuize, then as a maid at Charney Manor, a Quaker guest house, and then took a job as housekeeper for genetic scientist Maurice Bichard at the Pig Improvement Centre in Fyfield Wick. She worked there for 29 years until retiring aged 73.

Mrs Clements, 77, said the secret to their long marriage was “just getting along”.

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