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Saturday, 2 February, 2002, 03:24 GMT
French newly-weds set for record
Madeleine Francineau and Francisco Fernandez marry age 95 and 96  as local mayor Pierre Maurel conducts the ceremony
Madeleine and Francois say "I do"
Showing it is never too late to meet the love of your life, a 96-year-old Frenchman has married his 95-year-old fiancee.

Francois Fernandez exchange wedding vows with Madeleine Francineau, and the two now seem set to enter the record books as the world's oldest newly-weds.

Mr Fernandez, a widower, says he fell in love with Mrs Francineau, a divorcee, after helping her use a garlic press.

"In return I asked for a kiss," he said.

The simple civil ceremony took place on Friday at the Romarins rest home in Clapiers, 20 kilometres from Montpellier, where the two live, and many of the home's 95 residents were in attendance.

Love at first sight

All waited anxiously for Mrs Francineau to say "Yes", afraid she might miss the question due to hearing problems, the Associated Press news agency reported.

But the bride, dressed in a light blue dress, dark blue jacket and turquoise hat, very definitely replied "Yes" and whispered to her groom: "I love you."

The home's director, Michel Aimonetti, confirmed it was love at first sight in 1997 when Mrs Francineau asked Mr Fernandez for help with a garlic press.

The couple will continue to sleep in their own rooms, but Mr Aimonetti said that for their comfort they have been moved to the same floor.

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