A married couple from Bloxham marked an incredible three quarters of a century together with a party, bringing together four generations of their family.
Mervyn and Dorothy Dunn’s achievement is so rare and unusual that even the internet is undecided as to what to call the event with suggestions including the diamond-gold or silver-gold anniversary.
The couple, who are originally from Gloucestershire, started their journey together after meeting at a local dance.
Mervyn remembers the dance well. He said: “We met at a local dance at a village hall down in Gloucester. We are from the Forrest of Dean. We were teenagers then.
“I always make the joke whenever anyone asks me of this girl sitting on the side of the dance floor and she can’t take her eyes off this Adonis walking towards her and when he went by she looked past and saw me.”
He added: “But she must have liked what she saw because we’re still about.”
Dorothy said about the dance: “Yes, if I think about it I can remember it.”
For both Mervyn and Dorothy the attraction was instantaneous but was it a love at first sight moment?
Mervyn said: “On my part it was and I think on Dorothy’s as well because we just seemed to click.”
The couple continued to date and dance for the next year before tying the knot when they were both just 18 years of age.
The romance of the occasion, however, could not be celebrated as the very troubling reality of Britain at that time took precedent.
Mervyn said: “There was no honeymoons in those days, it was wartime. I was back to work the next day.”
Dorothy said: It was all work and no play in those days.”
Mervyn spent his entire working life in agriculture as a herdsman while Dorothy was a housewife raising their four children.
The couple moved to Bloxham in 1960 as Mervyn looked for better employment opportunities and the couple quietly went on with their lives.
With the current UK divorce rate approaching the 50 per cent mark Mervyn and Dorothy’s secret to a long marriage is a simple one.
Mervyn said: “You just have to pull together. We’ve had our up and downs, everybody has their ups and downs but we’ve had a good marriage.”
He added: “I think the process of divorce is too easy for one thing and it seems people find it easier to split up than fight to carry on.”
Despite the magnitude of the latest anniversary the couple had a modest celebration bringing together four generations which include eight grandchildren, 13 great-grand children and three great-great grandchildren, the youngest of which is just three weeks old.
The anniversary was also recognised by Buckingham Palace with a card from the Queen.
Mervyn, however, is taking it all in his stride, he said: “You know, they come and they go.”