A COUPLE celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary say the secret to a long and happy marriage is “never going to bed on an argument”.

Harry and Joyce Hope from Atherton have celebrated their milestone Platinum wedding anniversary at Ash Tree House care home in Wigan with the help of the staff.

Carers organised for the couple to enjoy a buffet-style afternoon tea with sandwiches, freshly made cream cakes and a glass of fizz to celebrate the occasion. Lifestyle Manager, Lorraine Harris, also arranged for a surprise performance by Ash Tree House’s caretaker, Gareth Ronan, who serenaded the duo with their favourite love songs.

The couple first met at St George Junior School in Atherton. However, it was not until their twenties that they noticed a romantic connection.

Harry said: “I always thought Joyce was beautiful and when we reconnected after our school years, I just knew she was the girl for me.”

Joyce added: “Harry made me feel so special, I knew I didn’t need to look any further for love.”

Harry took Joyce to a dance hall in Atherton for their first official date and the pair have many wonderful memories of the evening of dancing all night and laughing ‘until their cheeks ached’.

Joyce said: “I loved to dance and trips to the dance halls became a regular thing for us.”

Harry added: “Despite all the time we spent dancing, I have always had two left feet.”

After several years courting, Harry proposed to Joyce and the couple tied the knot in 1950 at Atherton Parish Church.

He said: “I can remember how nervous I was when I asked Joyce for her hand in marriage, when she said ‘Yes’ I was the happiest man on earth.”

They lived in Atherton and had son Michael, in 1953 and daughter Gillian in 1957. Harry worked in engineering and Joyce worked part-time at a doctors clinic selling baby milk.

Harry said: “The staff at Ash Tree House are brilliant. We had such a wonderful anniversary which was made even more special by our niece, Kay, baking us a fruit cake. That was the cake we ate at our wedding all those years ago and it made for a lovely touch on our 70th anniversary.”

Joyce said: “We have had a wonderful 70 years wed and I believe the secret to a long and happy marriage like ours is to accept one another’s differences and to never go to bed on an argument.”

Home Manager, Chris Durnan, said: “I am delighted to see how much our afternoon tea and entertainment meant to Harry and Joyce. Being able to go the extra mile for our residents is an incredibly rewarding feeling and I am very pleased to have been part of their celebrations.”