95-year-old couple celebrate their 75th Valentine's Day together

Couple say communication is secret to marriage success

Richard Jenkins
Tuesday 12 February 2019 21:17
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95-year old love birds married for 75 years - 190212 - SWNS

A 95-year old couple who met in their teens will celebrate a special Valentine's Day this year as they mark 75 years of marriage.

James and Cecilia Marsh tied the knot in December 1943 after Ms Marsh's youngest brother who introduced them.

Mr Marsh said he could not have been prouder as he rode his Ariel Red Hunter motorcycle from the Welsh coal mines where he worked as a Bevin Boy, to marry the woman who would become his life-long companion.

As they prepared for their 75th Valentine's Day together, Cecilia said the secret to the success of their marriage was communication and the fact they have always "worked together" to tackle the tough times.

She said: “I never thought James and I would still be together after all this time - especially after he was called up to the mines during the war. He had no option, he was going whether we liked it or not. As a young man, he was very smart – it’s something he’s always been known for.

She added: "Even after 75 years, he’s still the same man I married and we’re as in love today as we were on our wedding day. And because we were married on Christmas Day, it’s always been easy to remember the date. We’ve always worked together with whatever we’ve done. We even used to ride a tandem bicycle.”

Mr and Mrs Marsh celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on Christmas Day last year. They said they feel gratitude because they have a large family, which contributes to maintaining a loving relationship spanning nearly eight decades.

Recounting their approach to money, Cecelia spoke about the frugal times endured when they used credit to buy just one item at a time.

Referring to Mr Marsh, she added: “But that said, if we wanted to buy something, you didn’t mind going out and spending money, did you James!”

Mr Marsh, who lives with dementia, replied with a quick wit when he said: “Yes, and now I’m skint!”

Mr Marsh, whose first job was at a local hardware and iron merchants, added: “When we first met, I thought Cecelia had a lovely way about her. After we were married we were sometimes short on money, but we made a decent home because the kids were growing up. There’s more to life than money – you don’t need to make extravagant purchases. And it was nice to get home at the end of the day to a home-cooked meal.”

Pair of penguins serenaded with violinist and red roses for Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day approaching, Ms Marsh said they did not really celebrate it in a big way anymore.

“We used to - flowers, chocolates, that kind of thing," she said.

She added they had made cards for each other this year with help from the staff at the Bupa Abbotsleigh Mews care home in Sidcup, South East London where they now live.

They have also planted a rose bush in the grounds to symbolise their diamond anniversary.

“It’s heart-warming to watch their relationship continue to grow even after all these years, and so we all wanted to do something special to mark the occasion," said care home manager Tracey Cheeseman.

After the war, Mr Marsh returned to work at a local hardware merchants, and eventually ended up as general manager until he retired in 1989.

Ms Marsh worked as a trainee seamstress, which meant she frequently made clothes for the family.

She said she was kept busy with sewing, dressmaking and crocheting, and with designing and making wedding dresses.

By the time their three children, James, Marion and Ann grew up, Ms Marsh took up employment at the Peek Freans biscuit factory in Bermondsey.

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In the sixties, she moved on from her job to help Mr Marsh at Hawkins and Sons, working as a bookkeeper for 20 years.

The pair have been retired since 1989 and up until three years ago, accompanied each other to the shops every day.

The couple have seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Mr Marsh said: “Looking back at the old times, I remember we had to learn to work together to overcome any troubles we might have had.”

Ms Marsh added: “And if you can see that your family is happy and content, then that makes you happy. People in our generation didn’t ask a lot from life, we were happy with what we had.

SWNS

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