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Love against the odds: 50 years later and still going strong

YOUNG LOVE: Clayton (left) and Hopelyn Goodwin at their 1967 wedding, St. Mary Magdalene church, Longfield, Kent

CLAYTON AND Hopelyn Goodwin celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a reception for family and friends at St. Mary Magdalene church, Longfield, Kent, where they were married in June 1967.

Hopelyn (nee Mills), whose father’s family come from near Jamaica's Runaway Bay in the parish of St. Ann, lived mainly in Kingston, where she attended Merl Grove School; until she moved to London aged 16.

Her husband Clayton, who was born and raised in Longfield, is known to readers for his contributions to The Voice and, for well over fifty years, to The Gleaner.

In his speech Clayton, a journalist and author, explained how he and Hopelyn had been brought together by a friend, Rhona Pennant, at her 16th birthday party in Peckham, south east London in June 1962.

He outlined the difficulties that they had experienced at the start of their marriage, including Hopelyn’s father throwing her out of the family house when she told him she would be entering an interracial marriage – saying they would not last together beyond six months and the strength of the support they had received from relatives and friends throughout the years.

Clayton concluded by saying that, whereas Barack Obama could only aspire to “Yes, we can”, he and Hopelyn could now claim, “Yes, we have”.

The couple have two children, Elaine (married to Paul) and Robert (married to Netta) and three grandchildren from the former in Evelyn, Vivien and Lucien.

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