It’s never too late …

It’s never too late …

More than half a century after they first got together Pam Smith and Arthur Baldacchino have finally tied the knot at the Queens Hotel in Southsea.

The couple from Portchester first met 53 years ago when Pam was working in the paper shop in Eastney Road and Arthur was managing the fish shop opposite..

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Pam admitted she was smitten from the start and it wasn’t long before they started to go out and consequently began to work together.

“We had Arthur’s Fish Bar in Albert Road and we ran that for nine years before selling it,” recalled Pam, 73.

“After we sold up, we had a holiday in Malta. It was the first time Arthur had been back in 30 years and the first time I had ever been abroad.”

A glamorous life at sea

Arthur had been a chef in the Merchant Navy, serving on the original Cunard liners RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth.

“I was a chef in the first-class restaurant called, the Verandah Grill. I really enjoyed life there and got to meet many stars from the day including Hollywood legend Bette Davis and actors Victor Mature and Robert Mitchum,” said Arthur, 90.

53-year long engagement

The couple went on to run more fish and chip shops in Hayling Island and then Tangier Road at Baffins and when Arthur retired, Pam worked for Tesco for 21 years.

When asked about their 53-year-long engagement, Pam explained she never lost hope that Arthur would one day pop the question.

“In the early days I used to propose to him on a leap year or on Valentines Day,” revealed Pam.

“As the years went by, I resigned myself to the fact it might not happen but I never gave up hope completely.

Out of the blue Arthur proposed

“And then just recently out of the blue he said ‘Shall we get married?’ He knew I wouldn’t say no.”

Pam knew straight away that she wanted to tie the knot at the Queens Hotel. She had a arranged a 90th birthday party for Arthur which sadly he ended up missing due to ill health but he insisted the party should go ahead.

After looking for a while, Pam spotted a dress online that she thought would suit her and when she tried it on, it fitted like a glove.

“My nephew Chris will be Arthur’s best man and our flowergirl will be Sienna, who is my great-niece .

“We are just having a small wedding with 60 friends, family and relatives and I must admit I have got butterflies.,” said Pam.

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