Norman and Molly Clark, of Gidea Park, and Richard and Margaret Long, of Romford, celebrate 137 years of marriage

Love is still in the air for two dedicated Havering couples – after a combined total of 137 years’ marriage.

Norman and Molly Clark, of Cranbrook Drive, Gidea Park, tied the knot at Romford Congregational Church, South Street, on June 6th 1942 – then the hottest day of the year – and celebrated 70 years of marriage on Saturday at Romford’s Harefield Manor.

The anniversary is game, set and match for Mr and Mrs Clark, who met at the Carlisle Institute tennis club in 1938. The 19-year-old Mr Clark took an immediate liking to his future wife, then 16: “She was tall and blonde and fun,” he laughed.

The going has been tough at times. Mr and Mrs Clark’s only daughter, Lesley, suffered from cystic fibrosis and sadly died in 2005, aged 60.

But former railway clerk Mr Clark, 92, said the couple’s success was down to “plenty of give and take” – as well as help from other family members. The pair have a son, Michael, who lives in Harold Hill, and numerous nieces and nephews on both sides, some of whom attended the celebration last week.

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The mixed doubles lineup is completed by Richard and Margaret Long, of Guildford Road, Romford, who will mark their 67th anniversary on June 23rd.

Mr Long, a glider pilot during the Second World War who was involved in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944, said truthfulness was the key to a good innings.

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“Many marriages today don’t seem to last so long,” said Mr Long, 92. “I’ve been married 67 years but some marriages don’t last 67 minutes.”

Mr and Mrs Long were married in Waltham Cross in 1945, moving to Romford in the 1950s. They have four children – Patricia, Richard, Vivien and Margaret.

The pair, who both served during the war, met at Christmas 1943. “Margaret lived just around the corner,” remembered Mr Long. “She knocked at our door one day and asked to see my sister – but as she was in uniform I took a fancy to her.”

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