Somerset couple mark 80 years of marriage

Credit: Family picture

Nancy and Eric met on a little bridge in the village of Westhay, Somerset, in 1938. They were just 17 and 18 years old.

They decided to get married two years later in 1940 - the same year rationing was introduced to the country during the Second World War. This put a whole new meaning to a 'budget wedding'.

Using coupons she had saved, Nancy was able to still buy her dream dress - although not the white one she had planned.

Now 99 years old, Nancy said: "I just had enough coupons for my wedding dress and a set of underwear! I had a navy blue hat, navy blue shoes and a pale blue dress and pink carnations."

After their small church ceremony, the newlyweds went back to Nancy's grandmother's house for sandwiches and cake.

Eric - now 98 - said: "For some reason, I knew I was going to have her. That was in my mind, and that was 80 years ago."

The pair giggled on the garden bench as they remembered their early years together. Nancy said, "He was ever so nice looking, who could resist a chap like that?!"

Credit: Family picture

No matter the occasion though, it was hard to escape the war. What Nancy did not know was that on the same day as her wedding, her two brothers were trying to be rescued from Dunkirk.

At their home in Wedmore, Nancy remembered her brothers:

"Well one was in the Navy, one was in the Fleet Air Arms, and we didn't know it was happening. We got married on that day. I didn't realise my two brothers were there, and the little boats going over, picking up soldiers...we didn't know."

Credit: Family pictures

80 years on, Nancy and Eric have five children, 11 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren and 14 great, great grandchildren.

During the interview, Eric emotionally said: "If I could, I'd do it all again."

Monday 1 June marks their 80th anniversary and to celebrate, their friends and family will gather at outside their home (while remaining socially distant) to congratulate the couple.

As it is their oak anniversary, a bench is being made for them that will be placed in their village and they have a sapling to plant - but as of yet, have not decided a place for it.

But - before finishing the interview, we could not go without asking the big question... what is the secret to a happy marriage?

Credit: Family picture

Nancy glanced over at Eric and said, "Because we love one another, despite our ups and downs, we had our downs occasionally, but I think we made a good life don't you?" Eric paused and replied. "Very good, very good."