One of the UK’s longest married couples celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary – and put their longevity down to “just love”.
Charles Higgs, aged 101, and his 99-year-old wife Edith celebrated their oak wedding anniversary last week having married on October 30, 1940.
The couple first met when Charles was aged 20 and Edith was 18 in 1939, just weeks before the start of World War II.
The pair married a year later with Royal Engineer Charles soon sent to France where he would later be involved in the Dunkirk evacuation.
He was listed as missing for a month in 1940 but he and a band of soldiers eventually returned on a ship from Spain.
They welcomed their first child Stuart after the war in 1946 and went on to have daughter Diane in 1951.
Charles worked in the building trade before he set up his own building and decorating business.
In his 30s, Charles was told he may not live a long life after major surgery and was advised by doctors to move to the countryside for fresh air during his remaining years.
The pair, who have two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren moved from Wimbledon to Penrith, Cumbria, in 1960 where they have remained ever since.
They celebrated their ‘oak’ wedding anniversary – making them one of the world’s longest married couples.
When asked the secret behind the eight-decade long union Edith replied: “Just loving him.”
Charles believes the fresh air, along with homegrown and locally produced food expertly cooked by Edith, a former BBC canteen manager, have helped him reach such an old age.
He is now the longest known survivor of Crohn’s disease in the UK.
He was one of the original members of Penrith Ambulance Service and was a joiner for the district council before he retired in 1980.
Charles moved into a residential home in Penrith, Cumbria, at the beginning of lockdown due to ill-health.
Healthy but lovesick Edith choose to move in two weeks later so she could be with her husband.
Edith said: “The doctors said he had to go into a home but in the end I followed him when I didn’t need to.
“I couldn’t be apart from him, especially not now.”
The pair celebrated their milestone anniversary with family sitting outside the residential home.
They later enjoyed donated M&S buffet with other residents and staff.
Daughter Diane said: “How do a couple stay together for 80 years? Marry young, weather the storms of life together, live on homegrown, well-cooked food. Neither smoked and alcohol was only for times of celebration.
“Face life as it is with all its challenges and find ways to cope, together.”