Longest-married couple proves romance never dies

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The Independent Online

Frank and Anita Milford were crowned as Britain's longest-married living couple yesterday, days after they celebrated their 78th wedding anniversary.

The pair, who married on 26 May 1928, met at a dance "hut" as teenagers. They said the secret of their wedded bliss was "a little argument every day". Their marriage came in the same year that the first £1 note came into circulation, as well as Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin.

Anita Milford, 97, and Frank, 98, a retired dock worker, hoped to claim the record for the longest-ever British marriage, which was set by the late Percy and Florence Arrowsmith, from Hereford, who were married for 80 years.

"There's every chance we could break that record," said Mrs Milford. The couple spoke critically of the increase in short-lived marriages in recent times.

"These days marriages don't last long. A lot of people get married with the idea that if it doesn't work out there's no worry, but we can't understand that," said Mrs Milford.

The couple met in 1926 at a YMCA dance held in St Budeaux, in Plymouth, Devon. "We met at a dance in the hut. It isn't even there any more; it's been demolished, which is very sad. I lived a few miles away in Saltash at the time but Frank was a local lad. A few of us girls went to a dance on that night and that's where I met my fate."

After a two-year romance, they married at the Torpoint Register Office.

After the wedding, the couple lived in Saltash, then moved to St Budeaux. They lived there until March last year, when they moved to a nursing home in Plymouth.