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One of Britain’s oldest married couples, wed 81 years, says secret is to 'never argue'

Dorothy and Tim Walter, aged 103 and 102, respectively have been married for 81 years. (Walter family/SWNS)
Dorothy and Tim Walter, aged 103 and 102, respectively have been married for 81 years. (Walter family/SWNS)

One of Britain's oldest married couples, who are both aged over a hundred and who have been wed 81 years, have revealed their secrets to a long relationship.

Dorothy and Tim Walter, aged 103 and 102, say the key to the longevity to their relationship and lives is never arguing and spending as much time as possible outdoors.

The couple, who now live in a care home near Canterbury, Kent, met during the Second World War while working in different departments of a factory producing the RAF's Spitfire planes and have been side-by-side ever since.

Having married in 1942, as the conflict continued to rage, the great-grandparents, who have two grandsons and three great-grandchildren, later moved to a quiet village where they bought a fruit farm.

Although they do admit to some minor quarrels in the past, the Walters credit their lack of disagreements with remaining happy together over the years.

"We had no idea we’d last this long," Dorothy says of their relationship.

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Dorothy and Tim met during the Second World War and married in 1942. (Walter family/SWNS)
Dorothy and Tim met during the Second World War and married in 1942. (Walter family/SWNS)

Speaking of when they met Tim says he used to ride his bike to meet Dorothy after work, frequently being forced to take cover as German planes soared overhead.

"I would ride my bicycle to go and see Dorothy," he explains. "Quite often, I would be riding and an air raid siren would go off. I’d leave the bike and get to safety.

"When the siren stopped, I’d be back on my bike and on my way."

The couple eventually married at St Joseph's Catholic Church in Newbury, Berkshire, in 1942 - both aged 21.

They had their first daughter, Carole - who sadly died in 1985 - a year later, followed by their second, Sue, in 1947.

Following the war, the Walters moved to the rural village of Elmstone in Kent, where they bought a fruit farm.

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Dorothy and Tim Walter have been together since they were teenagers. (Walter family/SWNS)
Dorothy and Tim Walter have been together since they were teenagers. (Walter family/SWNS)

The couple also owned a boat which they would frequently take around Europe.

"We made a lot of friends and we’ve been lucky," Dorothy says. "France was our favourite place to go on holiday."

After farming, the couple retired to Wingham Green where they lived until the age of 101, before moving to Oakfield House care home in March last year.

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Asked what advice they would give to couples hoping for a long and happy marriage, Tim says: "You can’t point to one thing, but, providing you are content with life and your partner, you’ll be okay."

Speaking about the longevity of her parents' relationship, the couple's daughter, Sue Willis, now 76, says: "My father's the dominant one and my mother's very easy-going.

"That's why their marriage has lasted all this time, I think.

"They've had a wonderful life together."

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The couple now live together in a care home. (Walter family/SWNS)
The couple now live together in a care home. (Walter family/SWNS)

Nikki Cross, manager of the Oakfield House care home, says she was surprised to learn the Walters’ ages when they first arrived.

"They have both settled into the home well – they still attend the weekly exercise class," she says.

"Tim keeps us entertained most days with his cheeky ways and stories of his life and Dorothy enjoys doing her puzzle books.

"We feel privileged to care for a couple who have been married for so many years and all enjoy listening to their stories."

The couple credit never arguing as one of the secrets to a long relationship. (Walter family/SWNS)
The couple credit never arguing as one of the secrets to a long relationship. (Walter family/SWNS)

A database of the oldest couples in the country lists just one other husband and wife, Allan and Dorothy McDowell, to have been married for longer than the Walters at 82 years and 64 days - 304 days longer than the Walters.

But the McDowells’ combined age of 201 is lower than the Walters’ at 205.

The next oldest couple in the UK are Reginald and Doris Woolgar, from Brighton, who have a combined age of 204.

Additional reporting SWNS.