Four Cirencester couples have marked Valentine’s Day by sharing their tips for a long and happy marriage.
Jack and Grace Priestley met in Plymouth when they were serving in the Navy and married 74 years ago.
Jack said: “Finding the love of your life really is down to fate.
“For Grace and I, our love has blossomed throughout our 74 years together.
“We have found that being tolerant and understanding and finding the humour in any situation, are wonderful ways to keep your love burning bright.”
John and Diana Rickards have been married for 65 years, having first met at a coffee shop in Worthing following an introduction by John’s sister – but their love soon spanned continents.
John said: “I was living in Assam in India due to my work with the Burma Oil Company, so when Diana and I decided that we couldn’t wait to get married any longer, she sailed out to meet me, so we could get married.”
The couple were married in a small church in Margarita, with the births of their two children Susan and Stephen soon following. When China invaded India in 1962, Diana and the children were forced to evacuate and pack their belongings into one suitcase.
Whilst their life together has been filled with adventure and drama, John and Diana’s tip to a happy marriage is tolerance.
Vivienne and Gerald Robbins first met in Tetbury on the night that the steam train service stopped, as the railway transferred to diesel trains. They were married at St David’s Church in Merthyr Tydfil, with the birth of their two daughters soon following.
Sixty-one years after their wedding day, Vivienne has shared her advice for couples wanting to go the distance. She said: “Make sure you always talk things through together and really try to understand your partner and be patient with them. That, alongside always being loyal, is a great foundation for love.”
Ron and Joyce Kelsey first met at school when they were 13 and have now been married for 57 years.
Ron said: “It was love at first sight for me. As soon as I saw Joyce, I knew she was the love of my life and that I had to ask her out. Fifty-seven years later and I am so glad I did.”
Ron and Joyce were married on 1st August 1964 at Lockington Church in Leicestershire – a day which they say is their favourite memory together, along with the births of their three daughters and nine grandchildren.
When asked what their tips for a happy relationship are, Joyce said: “Try to make sure you never go to bed angry with each other. Ron and I always give each other a good night kiss to show that, no matter what little disagreement might have occurred, we always love each other.”
This year the four couples are all spending Valentine’s Day at Ashley House Care Home. The celebration will include a Valentine’s Day themed dinner, complete with dining tables adorned with heart-shaped confetti and napkins.
The care home team are also constructing a pink balloon arch and the baking club will be baking heart-shaped shortbread biscuits.
Danielle Miller-Hogg, activity coordinator at Ashley House, said: “All of the care home team are so inspired and moved by our four couples and their incredible love stories.
“The love they have for each other is so special and is most certainly worth celebrating, so we thought why not make this Valentine’s Day one to remember?”