Essex couple Ethel and Richard McMillan celebrate 77 years of wedded bliss

Richard and Ethel McMillan celebrate their 77th wedding anniversary with their nephew Ron and his wi

Richard and Ethel McMillan celebrate their 77th wedding anniversary with their nephew Ron and his wife Iris. Picture: RMBI - Credit: Archant

One of the UK’s longest married couples have celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary at an Essex care home.

Ethel and Richard McMillan on their wedding day on July 27, 1940, with Ethel's niece. Picture: MCMIL

Ethel and Richard McMillan on their wedding day on July 27, 1940, with Ethel's niece. Picture: MCMILLAN FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Ethel and Richard McMillan, who live at the RMBI-run Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court in Stisted, marked the occasion with cake and a celebration with family – including nephew Ron – and friends.

The pair were introduced at the Unitarian Church in Hackney, where Ethel’s close friend had asked her to come along to the service because she wanted to introduce her to someone.

That someone was Richard, and the couple married on July 27, 1940.

They lived in Hackney until Richard’s work took them to the Northumberland coast. Ethel was a secretary in an export firm and Richard worked for the council and later, as a district area surveyor for the government.

Richard and Ethel McMillan celebrate their 77th wedding anniversary with their nephew Ron and his wi

Richard and Ethel McMillan celebrate their 77th wedding anniversary with their nephew Ron and his wife Iris. Picture: RMBI - Credit: Archant

Asked what the secret to a long and happy marriage is, Ethel, 97, laughed and said: “We don’t argue about things.

“I don’t know how it actually happened. It seems like Richard has always been in my life.

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“He has always been very reliable and never kept me short of anything. He really has included me in everything.”

Richard, 101, added: “There is no secret. You have to know each other well and have a good regard for one another and it to mean something to you.

“You have to love your lady.

“My favourite thing about Ethel is the way that she’s put up with me for 77 years, I am no angel.”

Ethel’s wedding dress was made by her sister-in-law, with Ethel herself making the headdress, while her niece was a bridesmaid.

The service was a special occasion as Ethel’s two brothers in the RAF – one a pilot, the other a rear gunner – were able to get leave and attend the ceremony, with one of them giving Ethel away.

The couple say they do not know what the record for the longest marriage is – though they are aware of a couple who celebrated 80 years earlier in 2017 – and have not got their eyes on the target.

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