East Budleigh couple’s diamond day

A generous East Budleigh couple who marked 60 years of marital bliss by asking party guests to forgo the usual presents, and donate to charity instead, are this week’s winners of the Journal’s Good Egg award.

Peggy and Jim Sleeman, both 89, invited more than 30 friends, family and neighbours to a garden party to celebrate their diamond wedding at their home in Trefusis Way on Saturday.

Peggy said: “We got to see cousins we haven’t seen for a long time, and invited friends and our wonderful neighbours.

“We have enough things so, instead of presents, we asked for donations to Devon Air Ambulance. We haven’t counted it, but there must be hundreds of pounds.”

The couple originally came from London, but moved to East Budleigh 28 years ago.

They met at a mutual friend’s 21st birthday party in November 1949, four years after the end of World War Two.

Both served in the Army, and were involved with the Normandy landings.

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Peggy, who joined up in Honiton, was PA to the London district colonel, and was charged with supplying British forces with ordnance, vehicles and tanks for the Normandy landings.

She said: “The secret plans for the invasion were kept in my filing cabinet. It made me feel very proud!”

Jim was a British Tommy, and served with the desert rats in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia before also taking part in the Normandy invasion.

He was deployed to Japan just after the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

They married in Ilford on August 18, 1951, and Jim worked as a civil servant at the Department for Fisheries and Farms until he retired aged 59.

Peggy added: “We had a card from the queen. It was thrilling. We had a wonderful day.”

When asked the secret of a successful marriage she added: “We have the same ridiculous sense of humour, and laugh at the most stupid things!”

l Do you know someone who has done a good deed? Nominate them at Exmouth.editorial@archant.co.uk.

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