James and Cecelia Marsh are set to celebrate their 75th Valentine's Day together as a married couple - at the age of 95.
The lovebirds were first introduced as teengers by Cecelia’s youngest brother Bill, who befriended James when he lived close-by in south London in the early 1940s.
They tied the knot in December 1943, with James riding his beloved Ariel Red Hunter motorcycle back from his job as a 'Bevin Boy' in the Welsh mines to marry his sweetheart.
Today the couple live at Bupa Abbotsleigh Mews care home in Sidcup, South East London where the staff make sure they’re still able to spend time together.
As they prepared for their 75th Valentine's Day together Cecilia put their lifelong love down to “communication” and the fact they always “worked together” to iron out any problems.
She added: “I never thought James and I would still be together after all this time.
“Especially after he was called up to the mines during the war – he had no option, he was going whether we liked it or not.
Cecelia said: “As a young man, he was very smart – it’s something he’s always been known for.
"Even after 75 years, he’s still the same man I married and we’re as in love today as we were on our wedding day.
“And because we were married on Christmas Day, it’s always been easy to remember the date.”
She added: “We’ve always worked together with whatever we’ve done. We even used to ride a tandem bicycle.”
'Happy and content'
James and Cecelia on their wedding day in 1943. Image: SWNS.
James and Cecelia, who celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on Christmas Day 2018, also credit having a large family for maintaining a loving relationship after nearly eight decades.
The couple have seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Cecelia said: “If you can see that your family is happy and content, then that makes you happy.
"People in our generation didn’t ask a lot from life, we were happy with what we had.”
James added: “Looking back at the old times, I remember we had to learn to work together to overcome any troubles we might have had.”
Now, the pair pass their time by chatting and eating meals together, while in days gone by the also used to enjoy puzzles.
'There's still a spark'
James and Cecelia showing them on their wedding day. Image: Matthew Newby/SWNS.
Cecelia said: “We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day in a big way. We used to - flowers, chocolates, that kind of thing.
“We have made home-made cards for each other this year though with help from the staff.”
In addition to helping the couple make cards, colleagues at the care home have also planted a rose bush in the grounds to commemorate the pair’s diamond anniversary.
Tracey Cheeseman, home manager at Bupa Abbotsleigh Mews, added: “Jim and Ciss really are an inspirational couple – even after 75 years married, you can tell there’s still a spark.
“While Jim’s dementia means he receives specialist care in another wing of the home, we still make sure they spend time together.
“It’s heart-warming to watch their relationship continue to grow even after all these years, and so we all wanted to do something special to mark the occasion.”