As romantics across Hounslow dig deep to declare their love for each other this Valentine's Day, we speak to three couples whose passion has passed the test of time. Boasting more than 160 years of marriage between them, young sweethearts everywhere could learn a thing or two from these lovebirds at Cloisters Nursing Home in Bath Road, Hounslow.
Love blossomed from the rooftop when Tom met Joyce
TOM and JOYCE PUCKETT , who will celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary on November 1 this year, still remember the first time their eyes met in 1940. "I was re-tiling a roof which had been damaged by a bomb and Joyce lived just over the road, in what's now part of the Olympic site," said Tom, who was just 16 at the time. "She was very pretty, with lovely curly hair,and it was love at first sight."
They soon got talking and love blossomed in the picture houses of east London, where the pair spent many a date, shelling out just sixpence a ticket.
But it wasn't all plain sailing. Tom joined the Navy in 1941 and spent most of the next five years at sea, off the coast of Africa and in the Far East.
They wrote regularly, but letters could take months to arrive, often coming together in big bundles. "I wasn't going to get married during the war," said Joyce, 83. "I told him if he wanted to tie the knot he was going to have to be out of the Navy."
When the time came, there were no candles or champagne - Tom didn't even get down on one knee to pop the question. "You didn't have fancy proposals back then," explained Joyce. "When you found somewhere to live, then you thought about getting married."
The wedding itself was a simple affair. "You couldn't have a big wedding with two ounces of margarine and a pound of sugar," said Joyce. "I was a dressmaker so I made my own gown. The material was rationed but that wasn't a problem because I knew where to get it."
They never looked back, having a son, Michael, who gave them their only grandson, Thomas, before the pair moved to Cloisters two years ago. And the secret to a long marriage? "I'm the boss," explains Joyce, at which Tom simply nods.
'We still love each other'
CYRIL and DAPHNE SEBASTIAN tied the knot nearly 50 years ago in her home town of Jhansi, in central India.
Cyril, 81, grew up in Somalia, where he worked as a customs officer.
He first met Daphne,72, when he visited his parents one holiday to find her family had moved in next door.
He soon made the move permanent and the couple, who are both keen painters, settled in Jhansi.
They had seven children together before moving to Chiswick about 30 years ago. "We still love each other very much and we never row,which is probably why we've been together so long," said Cyril.
Arranged match lasts 65 years
KARNAIL and DEEWARKI KARWAL saw each other for the first time at their arranged marriage in the Indian village of Dhroli 65 years ago. "It was a simple wedding but I remember he looked very smart," said Deewarki, 80.
The couple have five children and six grandchildren. They moved to Hounslow with their eldest son just over 20 years ago.