Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 16:57 UK

Husband in longest marriage dies

Frank and Anita Milford
Anita and Frank survived when a bomb hit their home during WWII

One half of Britain's longest married couple has died at the Plymouth residential home where he lived with his wife of 81 years.

Frank Milford met Anita, both 101, at a YMCA dance in Plymouth, Devon, in 1926 and they married two years later.

The couple said the secret of their marriage was "give and take" and making up after rows with a kiss and cuddle.

Mr Milford's 76-year-old son, who is also called Frank, said his mother was holding his father's hand when he died.

"She's very upset obviously, but she was sitting holding his hand when he passed away," he told BBC News.

Anita and Frank Milford
The couple never went to bed without a kiss and cuddle

"For the past three weeks or so he hasn't been eating or drinking and I think we all realised he was ready to die.

"He knew it was his time and I think he simply died of old age."

Despite his frailty, Mr Milford said his father had remained "as sharp as a tack" and never lost his sense of humour.

Frank and Anita Milford spent their entire married life in Plymouth and stayed in the city throughout World War II.

During the Blitz they narrowly escaped two bombs, including one which fell on their house.

Frank and Anita Milford had two children, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

In February 2010 the couple would have broken the record to become the oldest married couple in Britain.

Print Sponsor

Couple's 81st wedding anniversary
26 May 09 |  Devon
Couple celebrate 80th anniversary
26 May 08 |  Devon
'No magic secret' to wedded bliss
24 May 07 |  Devon

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific