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Sharing and laughter brings Mill Hill couple 70 years of happy marriage
A couple who have enjoyed a remarkable 70 years of happy marriage say the secret to a lasting relationship is to share and to laugh.
Bill and Annie Attwood, of Rivington Crescent, Mill Hill, will celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary this afternoon but the romantic couple admit it has not all been plain sailing into the sunset.
The rocky road to marital bliss has seen the affectionate pair endure the loss of a baby and pull through tough financial situations.
A bombing close to their home during the Second World War proved a worrying near miss but Bill, 90, and Annie, 89, have stuck through thick and thin to reach happier times.
The London born couple met as children when they lived on neighbouring roads in Islington in the late 1920s.
As teenagers, they would dance at a nearby church hall and at the age of 16, Bill plucked up the courage to ask Annie’s older brother Tommy for permission to walk her home.
Annie said: “It went from there really. He liked the look of me I guess, though it could have been my money too.”
Bill: “I thought she was great – good looking, always looked smart. She was beautiful.”
In 1939, Bill was drafted into the RAF as a driver. He had wanted to be a pilot but was not eligible due to his colour blindness, a condition which probably saved his life.
Annie was married to Bill in 1942 while he was home on annual leave and it was on a later home visit that the couple escaped further tragedy when the Moorfields Eye Hospital near their home in Islington was bombed. Bill helped pull casualties from the building.
The birth of their first child in 1943 was marred by tragedy when, at just two weeks old, the baby girl died of Spina Bifida.
It was not until 1947 that the couple were relieved of their grief when, at the end of the Second World War in which Bill served through Belgium, Holland, France and Germany, their second daughter Barbara was born.
Annie said: “It was a very hard time for us when we lost our first baby, she was a beautiful little girl – it was terrible and made life very hard.
“But having Barbara made up for it - she was so lovely. Our daughter is one thing that has kept us together.”
The doting couple eventually moved to their current home on the former Hendon Aerodrome in 1978 and have never looked back.
Bill enjoyed a long career as a delivery driver, while Annie worked as a seamstress at Harrods and the couple have shared holidays to Malta together for 21 years.
The Attwoods will celebrate their landmark anniversary with family at a special lunch in a mystery location this afternoon, organised by daughter Barbara, 65.
She said: “They are unbelievable. Marriage is wonderful but you have to work hard at it and they have. I’m always proud of them but particularly now.”
Annie added: “The secret has been sharing everything in our lives and enjoying a good sense of humour.
“I just hope that people reading this could live a life like we have. Appreciate what you have rather than always wanting more, and always smile.
“We’ve been very lucky, not financially, but in life, and we’re all very happy.”