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Saturday, August 22, 1998 Published at 18:11 GMT 19:11 UK


Marriage milestone for UK couple

The secret of a long marriage is clearing the air after an argument, say the Blackers

The UK's longest married couple have just celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary - and say they are looking forward to seeing in the Millennium together.

Tom and Rene Blacker - who were married 76 years ago on 19 August 1922 - claim to be as much in love today as when they first tied the knot.

Love at first sight

Mr Blacker, 100, and his wife - a sprightly 98 - first met at a Saturday afternoon tea dance in 1919. He was 21, she 19.

He said: "She caught my eye at the Assembly Rooms that day and I knew then that I wanted to marry her."

The couple were married at St Stephen's Church in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Hopes for the Millennium

"Everyone keeps talking about the Millennium so I suppose it would be nice to celebrate our 78th anniversary in the next century," said Mrs Blacker.

Mr Blacker worked in the steelworks, but when he retired he refused to put his feet up and delivered the works newspaper to nearby homes until two years ago.

The couple celebrated their anniversary at their home in the village of Thrybergh near Rotherham.

The secret of long-lasting love

In an age of rising divorce figures, what is the couple's secret to a long and happy marriage?

They say that husbands and wives should always clear the air after a disagreement.

"We do have our arguments, but we always settle them straight away and we don't sulk for days afterwards," said Mrs Blacker.

The couple were joined in commemorating their 76th year of wedded bliss by their son Peter, 75, and daughters, Mabel, 72, and Marjorie, 69.

The pair also have eight grandchildren, six great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

Mr Blacker said: "We are still as much in love as we were when we were married. We never dreamed we could reach this milestone, but as you get older every day is special."

A memorable year

As well as being the year that Mr and Mrs Blacker got married, 1922 was a memorable year because:

  • Irish leader Michael Collins was shot dead.

  • Benito Mussolini became dictator of Italy.

  • A Tory rebellion ousted David Lloyd George as prime minister to replace him with Andrew Bonar Law.

  • The Tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter in Egypt.

  • Waterloo station was opened by Queen Mary.

  • In London the British Broadcasting Company was formed.

  • A dozen eggs cost around 11p, beer was less than 3p a pint, whisky cost 75p a bottle, 1lb of tea cost less than 12p and 4lbs of bread was about 5p.

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