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Teenage sweethearts celebrate golden day
12:00pm Saturday 14th April 2012 in Devizes
romham couple John and Audrey Benham, who met at the village youth club when they were teenagers, have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
The couple were 17 when they met at Bromham Youth Club. At the time, Mr Benham, who is from Bromham, was an apprentice panel beater/sprayer at Wards Motors in New Park Street, Devizes, while Mrs Benham was living at Rowdeford School, where she worked in the kitchens.
They fell for each other straight away and Mrs Benham recalls her future husband reserving a seat on a packed coach for her on a trip back from Box Youth Club, where he was playing in a band.
They married at St James Church in Donnington, Shropshire, on April 2, 1962, where Mrs Benham’s parents were living at the time.
They spent their first year of married life in Seend and the following 49 years in Bromham. They now live in Highfield.
The couple, both 70, have four children, Richard, Toni, Matthew and Nettie, and four grandchildren, James, Libbi, Lukas and Zara.
Mrs Benham is retired but Mr Benham still works full-time at his own business, Benham Bodyworks, in Oxford Road, Calne.
Mr Benham is well known in the area as a member of the band Utopia, which played all over the country from the 60s to the 80s. Before Utopia, the singer and guitarist backed many famous artists including Sir Tom Jones.
Both Mr and Mrs Benham have recovered from serious illnesses. Mrs Benham had breast cancer four years ago, while Mr Benham amazed doctors by surviving necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating bug which he had in his throat in 2000.
He was on a life support machine and doctors thought if he did survive it was unlikely he would sing or even speak again, but he pulled through and had no ill effects.
Mrs Benham said: “We regard ourselves as very lucky that we have got one another.”