Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Pair are UK's 'oldest newlyweds'

Penny Cooper and John Dawkins
The couple wed after a leap-year proposal

A Devon couple are thought to be the UK's oldest newlyweds.

Three months ago 90-year-old Penny Cooper made a leap-year proposal to 89-year-old John Dawkins, who she met at a charity event.

The couple, who have a combined aged of 179, tied the knot at a register office in Devon on Tuesday.

Mr and Mrs Dawkins, from Exmouth, beat the previous UK record holders, James Mason, 93, and bride Peggy Clark, 84, who were married in Devon in 2007.

Mr Dawkins, a former Royal Navy commander, and his new bride, who served in the Wrens, met nine years ago.

He eventually became her carer and they lived at his home until 18 months ago when she suffered a stroke.

Now I have a greater objective to live to 100

John Dawkins

She moved into a local nursing home and he visits daily.

The couple, who have both been married before, wed at a register office in Honiton, Devon, at a ceremony attended by their families.

Mr Dawkins told BBC News: "It was absolutely excellent.

"I would have been a very grumpy old man if I had not met Penny.

"Now I have a greater objective to live to 100."

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