Harpenden couple celebrating 65 years after love at first sight

IT WAS love at first sight as their eyes locked across the dance floor. Joan was sweet 16, Samuel just two years older. The couple, dancing “The Paul Jones”, had just met at a Saturday night dance in Oldham in wartime Britain.

Fast forward to the present day and that lovestruck couple, Samuel and Joan Price, have been happily married for 65 years, recently celebrating this milestone wedding anniversary with friends and family in Harpenden.

The couple, of Townsend Close in Harpenden, have also received a hand-delivered congratulatory message from the Queen.

Samuel, who turns 89 in three months time, said: “It was incredible, we had an incredible response from family and friends and you can’t move in the house for flowers.” The floral bounty includes about 200 roses.

He said it might sound a clich� but the secret of a long marriage was to support each other’s endeavours and celebrate each other’s successes.

Their 65 years of marriage had been “interesting and rewarding” he said, explaining how being brought up at a time of deprivation in the 1920s and ’30s had helped ingrain a sense of maintaining a balanced view of life and the ability to retain a sense of proportion.

Samuel said: “I think you always need to be able to look back at that [time] and count your blessings.”

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He and Joan, who recently turned 87, met during World War Two when Samuel was an apprentice engineer and Joan was working in a manufacturing chemist.

He said: “It was love at first sight – instantaneous – we had never met before.”

The couple, who married in Oldham, moved to Harpenden 42 years ago. Samuel managed the Frigidaire Plant in Edgware for General Motors before joining the GM Ltd Board in 1975 and finally managing the Vauxhall Plant in Luton. Between 1968 and 1979 he managed five engineering factories in England and Ireland for General Motors.

Joan meanwhile kept busy raising their family – sons Mark and Peter and daughter Jean, who sadly died in a motorcycle accident in 1999.

Joan also undertook voluntary charity work at the Oxfam shop in Harpenden.

The couple have six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Family members attending the 65th anniversary celebrations were “absolutely over the moon” about the milestone event, said Samuel.