The vintage bride

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The Independent Online

Peggy Clarke, 85, married James Mason, 94, last November

I'd been on my own for a long time when I met James at the local day centre for the elderly in Paignton, Devon. At that stage I felt I could die and no one would know.

He introduced himself to me by saying, "There's no need to be lonely." The chemistry was there immediately, and he proposed to me three days later. People said, "Think about it" or "Wait," but at my age I can't wait any longer. And we're old-fashioned – you can't live in sin.

I wanted to have a nice quiet registry wedding with James, at the nearby Oldway Mansion. But after some smart reporter realised we'd broken the record for oldest newlyweds, my quiet wedding went: when I arrived on the day there was a bank of photographers and a camera crew outside – I thought there was royalty coming. We walked up the aisle in the registry office together; I was 84 years old, in a beautiful white gown, a tiara and a little white fur cap. At my age, I never expected that.

We were taken in a limousine to the Palace Hotel; lots of people waved as we drove past, because they knew about the record. When we arrived lots more were waving and cheering. The Palace staff laid on a wonderful reception. I didn't know how many were coming, so I left it in their hands. The mayor and other councillors were there in James's honour, as he was a former mayor of Torbay, and James's family came too.

We still get letters now from America, Australia – everywhere – and even now when I go out, people ask me, "Are you half of the famous couple?"

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