St Ippolyts couple married in secret

PLATINUM couple Ron and Pauline Smith put their long lives and happy marriage down to many years of fun with friends and family. The former community volunteers, who live at the Sloe Hill residential home in St Ippolyts, celebrated their 70th wedding anni

PLATINUM couple Ron and Pauline Smith put their long lives and happy marriage down to many years of fun with friends and family.

The former community volunteers, who live at the Sloe Hill residential home in St Ippolyts, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this month.

Mr and Mrs Smith, now aged 91 and 90 respectively, married in secret at the outbreak of the Second World War after meeting two years previous.

Their paths first crossed as Mrs Smith walked down the street after seeing a film and Mr Smith got off the bus with his friends following a football match.

It wasn't love at first sight, but they bumped into each other the next day and never looked back. They decided to marry when the war broke out, but Mr Smith was required to seek permission from his employer, newsagents WH Smith.

However, time was short with his national service looming and the couple wed in a secret, low-key ceremony at the local registry office.

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Mr Smith joined the forces around four months later and was initially stationed at the Kempston Barracks in Bedfordshire. He was later posted to North Africa but wasn't ever required to fight and also did administration for the Glider Pilot Regiment.

Meanwhile, Mrs Smith joined the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS) and went on to dedicate 56 years of her life to helping the community, for which she received a long-service medal from the Queen.

Working with the evacuees during the war, delivering meals on wheels and assisting the local magistrates' court for 29 years were among the many duties she undertook.

Mr Smith, a keen footballer, also helped with the meals on wheels service on his day off from his job at Howell's Newsagents in Hitchin and after his retirement.

The couple had three sons, Mervyn, Michael and John, who died suddenly last year. They also have five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Mrs Smith said their secret to a long life and happy marriage was having fun and making lots of friends. Many fond memories come from their family holidays at their static caravan in Yarmouth.

Although, the couple admitted that they still have the odd tiff and Mrs Smith said: "You've got to have your own points of view, otherwise I would be listening to horse racing and football all the time."

Mr Smith said: "We've had a very long and very happy life. It's been 70 years together, but it's been very happy."

They celebrated their anniversary with a large family meal at the Redcoats Farmhouse in Little Wymondley.

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