A COUPLE celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary yesterday after 70 years of marriage.

Richard and Gwen Howard, 88 and 89, both former teachers, of Woodingdean, married on June 27 1944.

Mrs Howard told how on the eve of their wedding there was an air raid which meant the only guest at the wedding was her mother. She said: “Because of the air raid, trains from outer London weren’t working. Also people had to work, so it was only my mother there.

“The registrar said we couldn’t wait any longer and we needed another witness, so we had to ask a young lady called Violet Smith who was passing by.”

Mr and Mrs Howard now have two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mr Howard said: “I came from a broken marriage. My father left my mother when I was eight so whe I got married I decided to make a better job of it.” They moved from London to Brighton in 1965 when Mr Howard got a job teaching production engineering at Brighton Technical College, now City College Brighton and Hove.

In 1973 Mrs Howard began teaching business studies at the college’s Pelham Street campus. They retired in 1983.

Although yesterday was their anniversary, the couple will be celebrating properly with family and friends on July 15, with a granddaughter coming from New Zealand and a grandson coming from France with his family.

Mrs Howard said: “The two of us are good friends, that’s the most important thing.

“We were then and we still are now – I think that’s the secret.

“It doesn’t feel like 70 years that we’ve been together. Although my husband has had a stroke we both feel young.

“We have been very, very lucky to have lived this long, to have done all the things we have done and to have made all the friends we have made.”

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