Childhood sweethearts say 'care, respect and regard' key to reaching 75th anniversary

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read
Childhood sweethearts, who met at school, have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary, pictured on their wedding day in 1947. (SWNS)
Childhood sweethearts, who met at school, have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary, pictured on their wedding day in 1947. (SWNS)

Childhood sweethearts who met at primary school have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary - otherwise known as their diamond jubilee.

Ruth and Fred Standford, both 96, from Braydon, Wiltshire, got together at a 16th birthday party, going on to tie the knot on June 14, 1947, the same year Queen Elizabeth married Prince Phillip.

Fast forward 75 years and the couple have just celebrated their anniversary with family and friends at Barchester White Lodge Care Home, where they both live.

Despite being together for almost eight decades, Ruth Standford says she "doesn't have a clue" about the secret to a long-lasting marriage.

"I never thought we would get to this," she says. "It’s just one of those things, it seems as though Fred has been around forever.”

Their son, Gordon, says that while his parents may not think there's a "secret" to a long-lasting marriage, they have three tips to share.

"They don’t think there’s a big secret to a happy marriage," he says. "Just care and respect and regard."

When asked about her anniversary celebrations Mrs Standford says: “This was a lovely day - even better than the wedding!

"The care home has done wonderfully well, I’m not sure we deserve it all, though I know it’s amazing to have been married for such a long time.”

In order to mark the special anniversary, Mr and Mrs Standford received a card from the Queen, a bouquet of flowers and lapel pins from Royal Wootton Bassett mayor, Pat Farrow.

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Ruth and Fred Standford at their 75th wedding anniversary party at White Lodge Care Home. (SWNS)
Ruth and Fred Standford at their 75th wedding anniversary party at White Lodge Care Home. (SWNS)

After attending St Luke's Primary School, in Guildford, Surrey, where the couple first met, Mr Standford joined the RAF at just 17 and was away on active service in World War II.

Based at Butterworth, he flew Lancaster Bombers, and piloted an impressive 37 types of aircraft during the war.

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His service in the RAF also took the family to the Far East, where the couple lived with their three children for many years.

Having remained in the RAF until his retirement at 65 Mr Standford was the longest serving officer to keep up his flying hours when he retired, and he celebrated his anniversary wearing his many medals.

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The couple's anniversary cake. (SWNS)
The couple's anniversary cake. (SWNS)

Mr and Mrs Standford have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, with son Gordon and daughter, Christine visiting their parents on the special day.

“Mum is feisty with a lovely spirit and dad was a great partygoer in his youth," daughter Christine says of her parents.

"They looked after us well. We had good fun as kids and travelled around the world because of dad’s work. We lived in Singapore for a few years.

“They’ve really made the most of their retirement and went on amazing holidays sightseeing around Europe, they’ve had an adventurous life.”

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Ruth and Fred Standford with their children. (SWNS)
Ruth and Fred Standford with their children. (SWNS)

Gordon recalled his father's thoughts about his role in the RAF: “If someone gave you the best toys in the world to play with and paid you to do it, of course you’d sign up.

He adds: “I remember a lot of laughter at home with them. Dad was very commanding and focused and took charge - his career is testament to that - but it was always done with a lot of humour and he was willing to laugh at himself and admit when he got things wrong."

As well as his achievements in the RAF, Gordon says his dad remained active after his retirement.

“He never knew his limitations and achieved everything he wanted to do - even after he retired, he didn’t stop," he says.

"He rebuilt the garage, the front extension, and a classic car all by himself."

Additional reporting SWNS.

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