IN 1950, the Second World War had ended and Britain was getting used to a new way of life.

The NHS was just started but rationing was still in place and the country was littered with vacant bomb sites and unrepaired houses.

But love blossomed and for Fred and Sylvia Jenkins, it endured.

The couple have now celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, a platinum celebration.

Now great-grandparents, the couple who live in Lawford, believe the key to their exceptionally long marriage is simply “laughter and a glass of gin”.


Sylvia, 89, was born and raised in London with the exception of a four year period when she was sent to Sheffield as an evacuee during the Second World War.

Fred, who is now 91, had a different upbringing to Sylvia as he was born in the town of Blaina in South Wales and spent his childhood there.

At the tender age of 14 he started working in the sooty depths of a coal mine to earn money.

But when Fred turned 19 he decided to join the Army and moved 160 miles away to London which is where he met his future wife, Sylvia.

The pair first set eyes on each other at a dance in the captial.

Fred invited Sylvia for a drink with him and his friends and the rest, as they say, is history.

Fred was planning on returning to the Army but the pair became inseparable and decided to get married on November 11, 1950, at John Keble Church, in Mill Hill, London.

In 1955, they moved out of the city to Lawford to raise their family, which is where they have remained ever since.

Sylvia worked at the former BX Plastics factory in Brantham for several years before working at the University of Essex for 24 years until her retirement.

She worked as the university’s assistant catering manager.

Fred worked at a number of local firms including BX Plastics factory.

He then moved on to working as a telephone engineer for the Post Office for many years and then was employed at Tarmac Homes in Witham as a site manager until he retired.

At the time Fred was a well-known sportsman playing football, cricket and bowls for Brantham and Mistley, and he also won the Suffolk over 65’s golf championship in 1996.

The couple have one son, Ian Jenkins, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren with a third due in April.

Mr Jenkins called his parents’ platinum wedding anniversary a “remarkable achievement”.

Their anniversary celebrations may have fallen victim to the nation’s second lockdown, but Mr Jenkins said they were determined to have a memorable day.

Mr Jenkins added: “It is difficult during lockdown for any celebration, but once lockdown is lifted we will be having a family meal.

“Although they had lunch and afternoon tea on their anniversary date, from a restaurant that is providing takeaways, so at least they had a nice day.”

When asking what the secret to such a successful marriage is, Mr Jenkins said: “The key to a long marriage is simple - laughter and a glass of gin - heavy on the gin less so on the laughter is what mum says.”