If anyone knows the secret to a long and happy marriage, it must be this Preston family.
The four siblings have clocked up an amazing 200 years of wedded bliss between them.
Brothers Gerard, Bernard and Anthony Hothersall have all celebrated golden wedding anniversaries with their wives in the past few years, and on Friday their little sister Pauline Wilkinson passed the milestone with husband Tony.
Pauline, 71, a former nurse who lives in Wellington Place, Walton-le-Dale, met Tony when he spotted her and a friend walking along Ribbleton Avenue and asked her out.
They married at Blessed Sacrament Church on June 27, 1964, and have three children, eight grandchildren, four ‘surrogate grandchildren’ and two great-grandchildren.
Tony, 75, a retired BAE maintainence manager, said: “We met when I was about 20 and Pauline was 17.
“I’d been to a pub in St Mary’s Street with my mate on a Friday night and when we came out, I spotted two girls walking along Ribbleton Avenue.
“I was a bit cheeky and walked up to Pauline and asked if I could carry her bag, which had dancing shoes in it.
“She gave me them and I walked her home to Hawthorn Road in Ribbleton, then I asked if I could see her again. The rest is history.”
Pauline was studying to become a nurse at the time, and was not allowed to be engaged or married before completing her qualifications, so the couple had to wait four years before tying the knot.
Tony added: “The time has absolutely flown by for us.
“Pauline is a cracking woman, she’d do anything for anyone, and is very caring.
“I think the secret to a long, healthy marriage is to support one another, to listen and talk and help each other.”
The couple celebrated their anniversary last week with a family meal at Pinnochio’s restaurant in Walton-le-Dale.
Gerard, now 75, married wife Georgina at St Maria Goretti Church, Preston, on August 26, 1961, after meeting at St Ignatius’ dance hall in Meadow Street.
They have three children and six grandchildren, and he claims the secret to a successful marriage is “doing what you’re told”.
Gerard, a former BAE worker from Penwortham, said: “In this day and age, for us to clock up more than 200 years of marriage is something special.
“I think people these days give up too easily. They don’t work hard enough at it – they have one row, and that’s it, finished. But marriage is something you both have to work on together.”
He added: “I still think marriage is a good institution. It gives you security – if you don’t get married then it’s very easy to walk out.”
Bernard, 76, a retired policeman, also from Penwortham, met wife Anne at the public hall in Preston and they married at St Teresa’s Church in Penwortham on March 7, 1962.
They have two children and six grandchildren.
Three months later, on June 10, Anthony, now 73, from Chorley Road, Clayton le Woods, married Pat at St Joseph’s Church in Preston.
The couple met at Queen’s Hall, Saul Street Baths, in Preston.
They now have two children and three grandchildren.