Three centuries of marriage for golden Valentines

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, Ruby and Ray Raynor.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, Ruby and Ray Raynor.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

The look of love is still in the eyes of five Norwich couples who have enjoyed almost 300 years of happy marriage between them this Valentine's Day.

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, Eve and Trevor Evans.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, Eve and Trevor Evans.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

And in the best part of three centuries their spark has never burned out, sharing the romantic feast together at a special dinner laid on by Brooklands Care Home in Drayton.

'It is not something you see very often these days to be 60 years married, and it is really lovely to be able to honour that,' said Helen Waspe, lifestyle co-ordinator at the home.

While the couples who came together yesterday for the meal are separated physically due one half's need for care, their relationships are still as strong as ever. 'It also goes to prove people living in care can still be married and lead active married lives, no matter what they are dealing with at the time,' Ms Waspe added.

They came together through work or circumstance, and two of the couples met for the first time in the same dance hall; the old Samson and Hercules ballroom in Norwich.

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, David and Jean Riley-Budds.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, David and Jean Riley-Budds.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

In the 286 years of marriage they share, they have a total of 11 children and many more grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

'I think they come from a time when if things were broken, they would fix them rather than look for a quick fix,' Ms Waspe said. 'I have lots of admiration for how they have worked together and accommodated each other.

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'In all the stories they share they look so happy, and I can still see that spark when they look at each other or hold hands. 'Generally in those days people met where they worked, and if they lived in a small village they would marry someone from that village. These couples usually have similar backgrounds which brought them together in the first place, and that sustained them.

'They do not need to give up their Valentine's Day just because they are here.'

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, Gerald and Pauline Lomax.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Celebrating Valentines at Brooklands Care Home, Gerald and Pauline Lomax.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A three-course meal was put in the care home at lunch yesterday, with personalised Valentine's cards to greet them.

'We are delighted to have been able to make this Valentine's Day so special for our couples,' added Cathy Charley, Brooklands manager.

'It's so important that they can be together as much as possible and when the spouses visit – which they all do several times each week – we make sure that they have the privacy they need to live life as a couple and continue to honour their vows. 'We wish them all a very happy Valentine's Day'.

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