Enjoying a good argument is the secret to a long, happy relationship, according to Ray Pilley.
And he should know! For he and his wife Hilda, a resident at Highcliffe Nursing Home, have celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary.
The couple were presented with a bouquet, balloon and anniversary cake from staff and residents at the Kingsley Healthcare home in Stuart Road, Highcliffe, and everyone listened to their special song, I only have eyes for you, by Al Jolson.
The couple, both 93, met in the Red Lion, in Bargates, Christchurch, early in 1950 although Hilda was already aware of Ray, having worked with one of his brothers.
Ray walked her home and, just as they arrived, he was sick over the next-door neighbour’s garden wall having had one too many beers - Hilda must have been keen as this did not put her off.
Hilda lived in nearby Iford and they used to meet at Jumpers Cafe, a former lodge house in Barrack Road, which was midway between their houses.
Ray remembers they always used to play Al Jolson singing I Only Have Eyes for You on the Jukebox which became their song when they were courting.
They married in The Lady Chapel at Christchurch Priory on October 20 1951 and went on to have three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Ray, who still lives at the family home in Christchurch, enjoyed escaping to his allotment while Hilda enjoyed the peace as she was a great reader.
There was lots of music and singing in the house with visitors often dropping by for a slice of Hilda's famous chocolate cake or bread pudding.
Ray said: “The secret of such a long marriage is to be easy going, always have a laugh and a joke together and enjoy a good argument!”
Learn more about Highcliffe nursing home