Deeping couple celebrate 70 years of marriage

Market Deeping couple Jim and Muriel Phillips celebrating 70 years of marriage. SG211016-110TW
Market Deeping couple Jim and Muriel Phillips celebrating 70 years of marriage. SG211016-110TW

Spending time together, tackling jobs like decorating and gardening together, and ballroom dancing together are key ingredients for a long and happy marriage.

Just ask Jim and Muriel Phillips, from Market Deeping, who celebrated their 70th or platinum wedding anniversary this month.

There was a card from the Queen, who is due to celebrate the same marriage milestone next year, as well as cards and flowers from family and friends, and a big family party.

Muriel (89) said: “We met at a village dance, a friend introduced us. It was May 10, 1943. Jim went into the Army in 1944 and he used to come home on leave and then we got married on October 5, 1946 at St Catherine’s Church, Burbage, just outside Hinckley.

“I remember the church bells and the choir singing and all the family we had there in the church hall.”

Muriel is from Hinckley and Jim from Enderby, both on the outskirts of Leicester, and the couple lived in Enderby until ten years ago when they moved to Market Deeping to be near their elder daughter, Elaine, and son-in-law Tony.

Elaine and Tony married on Jim and Muriel’s 22nd wedding anniversary. Jim and Muriel also have a daughter Diane, son Peter, seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Jim (93) was in the Royal Army Service Corps for three years before he joined his father’s shoe repairing business. As crepe shoes came into fashion, he switched to the British Shoe Corporation and worked there until he retired. Muriel’s working life included serving in a shop.

Asked for the secret of a long and happy marriage, Muriel says: “We have always done things for each other and we have always done things together. If there was decorating or gardening that needed to be done we did that together. We also went ballroom dancing together.

“Marriage is for better or worse, until death us do part. Probably people don’t take it so seriously now but we did.”

The couple live in their own home, despite suffering sight loss, and love listening to audio books.

“Jim is registered blind and I am partially sighted,” said Muriel. “I go out and have a go at the gardening but I am pulling plants up as well as the weeds.”

Muriel loved dressmaking and tapestry. She made all sorts of things over the years, including the dress daughter Diane wore to her wedding. Before leaving Enderby, the couple helped found a club for the over 55s and still keep in touch with members. The couple say it doesn’t feel like they have been together for 70 years.

Muriel told us: “You wonder where all the years have gone, quite honestly.”