Young love that lasted 70 years

ERNIE and Elsie Walton will mark 70 years of marriage tomorrow with dozens of relatives and friends.

Ernie and Elsie Walton

ERNIE and Elsie Walton will mark 70 years of marriage tomorrow with dozens of relatives and friends.

The couple, who celebrated their Platinum anniversary on Tuesday, are holding a party at Snod’s Edge village hall, Shotley Bridge, County Durham.

In attendance will be son Leslie, daughter Dorothy Watson, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and other friends and family. The couple had another son, David, who died two years ago.

It was on July 10, 1937, that Ernie and Elsie, who were childhood sweethearts, tied the knot at St Edmund’s Parish Church in the village of Edmundbyers, near Consett. They now live in a bungalow yards from the church. The couple raised their children at nearby Hepple Hill Farm, which they sold in 1991.

Asked about the secret of a happy marriage, Elsie, who refused to divulge her age – “I wouldn’t want that in the paper” – said: “I would be telling you fibs if I said we never have a cross word. We often have what I will call ‘discussions’ through our children. But I would never have dreamed of leaving. My mother would have said I made my bed and should lie in it.”

The pair did not have a honeymoon. “It was haymaking time on the farm,” said Ernie, 90.

They attended the same village school and began their courtship at a school dance. They remember some tough winters, especially 1947, when the snow was so deep their children missed school for 15 weeks.

“We had coal for the fire, flour to make bread, and I made jam. We couldn’t go anywhere but we didn’t starve,” said Elsie, who has been a warden at St Edmund’s for 40 years, and a member of the village WI for 70.

They were married a month after the wedding of Edward, the Prince of Wales, to Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he abdicated.

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