February 6, 2012

'True love never fades': Husband, 100, and wife, 99, who have been together 82 years

Inseparable Lionel and Ellen Buxton are still as happy as the day they met - almost 82 years ago.

The loved-up pair are one of the country's oldest married couples having tied the knot in 1936, and 75 years later are still going strong.

They have clocked up almost 200 years between them, 162 of which have been spent in marital bliss.

Ellen, 100, said: ‘We have never been apart really and have never wanted anyone else.

‘We have been married happily because we have been good friends as well as husband and wife.

‘We have always made sure we have had nice evenings out together. Whether it is going for a romantic meal or out to play bingo.’

Grandparents Ellen and Lionel, 99, have not spent more than one night apart from each other in the past eight decades and have not got sick of the sight of each other yet.

Luckily they both share all the same interests including TV soaps, bingo, cards, quizzes and reading novels.

The lovebirds, who live in Dover, Kent, even follow the same sports including darts, snooker and football - both are Charlton Athletic fans.

The pair met in March 1930, the year Uruguay won the first World Cup, building started on the famous Hoover Dam and stars of the silver screen Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen were born.

Lionel and Ellen Buxton
They have seen 15 Prime Ministers come and go and watched on as Britain has fought a dozen conflicts.

Both Ellen and Lionel, who turns 100 in March, grew up in London's East End and met while working at the Henley Cable factory in north Woolwich.

Machinest Ellen would often ask for technical help from apprentice engineer Lionel and he was only too happy to lend a helping hand.

The two hit it off even though Ellen, who was born in September 1911, is six months older than her hubby, who turns 100 in March.

Lionel, who calls himself Ellen's 'toy boy' said: ‘She was lovely. I always looked forward to when she needed help from me.

‘We got on so well, went on a few dates together and became a couple.

‘We ended up getting married. We would have done it sooner but could not afford it.’

After six years dating they got hitched in Plumstead, on July 18, 1936, and stayed in London for the next 48 years.

During the Second World War Lionel was exempt from the Army and from 1939 to 45 repaired factories around the city damaged by the falling German bombs.

Landmark occasion: Lionel and Ellen at the party to celebrate
their Diamond wedding anniversary at their home in Dover
He still found time to be in 'Dad's Army' - the Home Guard - on weeknights and weekends.

After the war Lionel went to work for Crosse and Blackwell, later Nestle, for £3 a week, and the couple had their only child, Cyndy, now 62.

Lionel worked there for 40 years, retiring at 64. They moved to Folkestone and then Kent, where the pair now live in sheltered accommodation.

They look after themselves with a carer coming just once a week to help out.

They have supported each other through tough times, most recently when Ellen was diagnosed with bowel cancer ten years ago aged 90.

She was too old for chemo and radiotherapy but against the odds she survived an operation to remove a deadly tumour and is now fighting fit.

The couple, who have four grandchildren, are stronger than ever.

Ellen added: ‘We are more in love now than ever. We keep each other going.’