‘It is a long lasting love’

Mark and Alice McGrath celebrate 70 years of marriage
Mark and Alice McGrath celebrate 70 years of marriage
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A Lancashire couple who are celebrating 70 years of marriage will be looking forward to the Queen’s wedding anniversary later this year, as they share a small piece of their honeymoon.

Alice McGrath, 92, who married her sweetheart Mark in May 1947, worked for French designer Molyneux in London and designed a coat for Her Majesty’s honeymoon in November that year.

Mark, 93, of Much Hoole, said: “Alice was a wonderful tailoress. It was a great achievement to design a coat for the Queen. It was canary yellow and very beautiful. She never met the Queen, as the head tailoress fitted her.

“Thinking back on the length of our marriages, you could say the coat brought luck, but I think really genes and love play a big part in it.”

Mark met Belgian-born Alice in the Concordia dance hall in Ghent, in September 1944, whilst he was serving as a medical corporal in the RAF.

He said: “Alice didn’t know how to dance - she was all arms and legs. But there were some other girls doing the quick step and that’s how her love of dancing started.

“She didn’t like me very much at first but after two weeks she changed her mind and that was it.

“I got on well with her father. We would have married a couple of years sooner but I was a medical corporal in the RAF and I got posted to Cairo.

“We sent lots of letters and I would correct her grammar. Whilst she was waiting for me to come home she went to an English school.”

When Mark left the RAF in 1947 they moved to the UK and Mark got a job in Leytonstone, London, with the NHS in the executive council.

The pair moved to Lancashire in 1967 when Mark got a senior role pricing prescriptions for the NHS in Lostock Hall and retired from that post in 1986.

Mark added: “Alice stayed at home and she was very house proud.

“We did a lot of dancing together, Her favourite has always been the quick step, whilst I like the fox trot. She was a beautiful dancer.”

Ever since his wife became housebound after having dementia more than 10 years ago, Mark has dedicated his life to taking care of her.

He said: “We have a long lasting love. I love her more every day.

“We have had a wonderful marriage. Our greatest loss was losing two babies - that was the most traumatic part of our lives.

“The love you have when you are married a long time is different to when you first met.”