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Newport Couple Celebrates 70th Anniversary At Abbeyfield Home

Mary and John Clarke, from Newport, have celebrated their 70 years as husband and wife with a party at Avondale, the sheltered housing scheme run by The Abbeyfield Society where they are both living.

Mary, 90, and John, 95, were joined by friends, family and staff at their home to enjoy an excellent buffet and a fabulous Platinum Anniversary cake, made by Houskeeper Lynn Walsh.

The couple met purely by chance in 1953 at a dance hall in Ryde. John went to hang up his coat in the cloakroom where Mary was working that evening, and they have both described the moment that they set eyes on each other as love at first sight.

The relationship blossomed during the rest of the holiday, culminating in John proposing to Mary, and they were married in Nottingham in March 1954, which they cite as their most romantic moment.

Mary and John have made lots of happy memories since, and together they have raised their three sons, Paul, John and Alun.

John had a successful engineering career, retiring in 2002.

In April 2015 the couple decided to move to the Isle of Wight, where Mary is from, and took a room at Avondale in June 2023, in order to enjoy their later years worry-free.

They now enjoy life in their comfortable flat, alongside the good food, sociable activities and security that Abbeyfield properties famously provide for their residents.

When asked about the secret to the longevity of their loving relationship, Mary and John said that it was founded upon “happiness, understanding each other, and having both common and separate interests.”

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