There’s nothing that warms our hearts quite like a love story, and Nancy and Eric Kingston’s is one of the best.
The couple, who met in 1937 on a blind date, have just celebrated their 80-year wedding anniversary and shared their top tip for a long-lasting relationship: compromise.
While meeting on a blind date might seem quite commonplace in today’s society, it wasn’t back then, so when Nancy’s brother arranged their mystery date on a village bridge, it was impossible to know they’d spend the next 80 years of their lives in love.
They got married three years later on 1 June, 1940 – the same day Nancy’s brothers were escaping from Dunkirk, a fact she thankfully only found out later.
They celebrated their oak wedding anniversary at their home near Wedmore, Somerset, earlier this week.
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They’ve got a rather large family, too, which consists of five children, 11 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren.
The majority of their family couldn’t be there to celebrate with them because of the coronavirus pandemic, but they said they had a lovely day nonetheless.
As well as having drop-ins from local well-wishers, the pair also received a letter from the Queen to commemorate their day.
“It was absolutely beautiful. It was a lovely day. We met some old friends and made some new ones,” Nancy, 99, said.
Speaking about the success of their long marriage, the couple cited compromise as their top tip to those wanting to follow in their footsteps.
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“It must have been a deep love to have lasted this long. It's been a bit of give and take.
“We don't do it like they do today – we hung on. It's been a long time; a wonderful time. We've been very lucky.
“We're still going strong.”
Eric, 98, simply added: “If I could, I'd do it all again.”
Speaking of their very first memories together, Eric said: “I've got her brother to thank. He came out to the farm where I was working and said that someone wanted to meet me on a bridge in Westhay.
“He didn't say whom, and I didn't guess who it was.
“Anyway, I went along with him and met her – we talked for the rest of the evening. We went from there on.”
Not only did the war impact her brothers’ attendance to their wedding, it affected their big day, too. Nancy had to buy her dress by saving up rationing coupons, and the pair weren’t able to have a honeymoon because they had to rush straight back to work after the nuptials.
Luckily, they’ve had plenty of time to make up for it.
The couple now live with their youngest son Stephen, 58, who helps to look after to them on a day-to-day basis.
“They are such excellent role models – for the whole family,” Stephen said. “They taught us respect to others and gratefulness.
“The kind of people they are has always been a big influence on me and the decisions I've made in life.”
A bench is being made to commemorate their special milestone and will be placed in the village.