NOT one but two parties were held by Derek and Jean Robbins during the week when they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary on June 29.  One was a small get-together, the second a bigger event at The Red Deer.

Married at Okehampton, they had met at an Okehampton Carnival when Derek was driving the tractor for one of the floats and bumped into Jean when he had to get off his tractor at a stop - and that was it. 

One of a family of five children, Jean was born at Chagford where she grew up and went to school and where her father was working on a farm.  She worked making candles in Bovey Tracey.  When they moved to Crediton she had a job at Ernest Jackson’s and then at Shippams, the poultry processing plant at Crediton.

Derek was born in Bristol, then the family moved to Crediton and he went to Hayward's School and then Shelley, now Queen Elizabeth’s Lower School. The couple have lived in the town ever since they were married.

Derek worked on a farm for a while before joining Mid Devon District Council driving the dustcart.  Then one man did all the work, driving and heaving the dustbins into the back of the lorry.  

Derek would pick up the lorry from the council’s Lords Meadow depot in Crediton and take the load to Hemyock.  “The lorry was 16 tons and a bit tight going round some corners,” he remembered.

By the time Derek left the council after 35 years, wheelie bins had been introduced but, said Derek, he was still working on his own.  “Health and safety was minimal then,” he said. 

“I knew where I began and where I would finish and where I would stop for breakfast,” he said.  His days would begin with the first collections at 5.30am. 

From the district council, Derek went farming and still does with his own cattle near Crediton.  He enjoys watching wildlife.  Jean loved her cats and playing bingo at Crediton and Okehampton. 

Derek played pool and snooker for the Kings Arms and Potters at Crediton.  Jean helped with many carnivals in Crediton and the Greensword Majorettes which Derek was also involved in.

Jean was popular for the cakes she would make for the practice sessions and for the girls after an event.  

Derek (73) and Jean (68) have three daughters and a son, five grandchildren and one on the way plus one great granddaughter.