Siblings mark 135 years of marriage

In today's age of revolving door marriages the Briggs family put the rest of the UK to shame. Between them Jean, Beryl and Tony Briggs have wracked up 135 years of marriage and yesterday they came together in Attleborough to celebrate their achievement.

In today's age of revolving door marriages the Briggs family put the rest of the UK to shame.

Between them Jean, Beryl and Tony Briggs have wracked up 135 years of marriage and yesterday they came together in Attleborough to celebrate their achievement.

This year the siblings will amass a hoard of precious stones and metals to make J-Lo jealous as they mark their ruby, sapphire and golden wedding anniversaries.

Jean, 62, and John Denniss, 62, of East Harling, near Thetford, are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary, Beryl, 67, and Marshall Warren, 68, of Stow Bedon, near Attleborough, their 45th and Tony, 77, and Brenda Briggs, 72, of East Harling, their 50th.

It's a far cry from the 155,000 people in the UK who got divorced in 2005, a break-up rate the couples' believe is fuelled by a modern-day materialistic malaise of always wanting the latest and greatest.

The Briggs' brothers and sisters, who were all born and married in East Harling, all believe the foundations of their lasting union lie with the familiar cornerstones of compromise and hard work.

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Twenty seven members and three generations of the family, ranging in age from 77 years to 14 months, were at the family gathering yesterday.

Mrs Denniss said: “There has got to be compromise and a willingness to give each other space to pursue your own interests.

“Of course there needs to be love there, it's not going to be roses every day so you need to always love them, even if you don't always like them.

“I think today people expect too much, in my day people were much more accepting of what they had.

“There is a materialistic attitude where people think 'Maybe something else is better than what I have got', whether it is a three-piece suite or a partner.

“This is about us coming together to celebrate the remarkable fact that we are all still here, still in contact and still married.”

The three couples worked in a range of roles Jean as treasury supervisor with Thetford-based Travenol - now Baxter Healthcare, Beryl and her husband run a pig farm and farm shop in Stow Bedon while Tony worked for the Forestry Commission and as a recycling officer.

Mrs Warren said they had always remained a close family but there was little similarity between the partners they had chosen apart from the fact that all the men were keen sportsmen.

She said: “For us all to be together in this day and age is quite an achievement and it is nice for the family to come together to celebrate a happy occasion.”

The Briggs siblings still see each other every one to two weeks, with Mrs Denniss often coming back to find a bag of vegetables hanging off her door, fresh from Tony Briggs' garden.

Tony and Brenda have one son, Jonathan, who lives in Attleborough, Beryl and Marshall have two children Nicholas, of Stow Bedon, and Rachel, of Fakenham, while Jean and John have three children Lyn, of Hemel Hempstead, Kay, who emigrated to Australia, and Clive, of East Harling.

Together they have five grandchildren.

All of the immediate family were at the gathering apart from Kay who could not make it.

Lyn Denniss, who has been with her partner for 11 years, said her parents had set a great example that she hoped she and her siblings would be able to match.

“They have taught us that you have to think about the family and that once you make the commitment you can not afford to be selfish anymore,” she said.

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