Couple reveal secret to long-lasting love as they celebrate 80th wedding anniversary
Two childhood sweethearts have become one of Britain’s longest married couples after celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary. Ron and Beryl Golightly – aged 100 and 98 respectively – met when they were teenagers after one of his pals wolf-whistled a group of young women. Beryl turned round to see what was going on and instantly fell in love with Ron’s curly hair and “cheeky grin”.
She said: “I knew as soon as I saw him I was going to marry him. I was 14 and Ron was 16, it was very much love at first sight. “A couple of days later we spoke again and went for a walk, we were more or less a couple straight away.”
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Ron and Beryl with their daughters Margaret and Sue in the 1950s
The couple tied the knot in their hometown of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in 1941. Ron, who served in the Brigadier Guards, had his leave cancelled twice so he had to apply for a special marriage licence.
The wedding was so last minute they had no photographer to capture the big day and had to grab a passer-by from the street to step in to be Ron’s best man. Beryl added: “We got married when I was 18. I don’t know if he even proposed, we just spoke about a time in the future when we were married.
“He definitely wasn’t down on one knee. We just planned a wedding.” Beryl said the secret to a happy marriage is never letting a row linger.
She added: “We would talk the problems out, that is the key. We fell in love very young and we are still in love now.”
Five generations of the Golightly family: Ron and Beryl, daughter Sue, granddaughter Vicky, great granddaughter Laura and great great grandson Mason
She puts the secret to their long life to living a healthy lifestyle. Beryl, a former shop assistant, and Ron, a former HGV driver, have two daughters, Margaret, and Sue, six grandchildren, 10 great grandkids and a great, great grandson.
Daughter Sue Johnson, 75, said: “They’re a brilliant couple. Even after all these years together they are still very affectionate. “They enjoy holding hands.
Every time mum gets back from a doctor’s appointment dad will always hold her hand. “I definitely learned about love and relationships from my parents.” The couple celebrated their 80th “oak” anniversary on January 8 with a card from the Queen – their fourth from the Royal household after cards for their 70th and 75th anniversaries and Ron’s 100th birthday.
They hold extra special meaning for Ron – a lifelong Mirror reader – who once stood on sentry duty outside Buckingham Palace, and saluted a young Queen and Princess Margaret. The kind couple spent their younger years helping the partially sighted and Beryl, a St John Ambulance volunteer, once saved a woman’s life with CPR. Sue said of her parents: “They were in love then and they’re still in love now.
That’s why they’re still going strong.”