'Porridge and no rows' ingredients for 75-year marriage

Joseph and Ellen Graham are celebrating 75 years of marriage
Joseph and Ellen Graham are celebrating 75 years of marriage

One of the longest-married couples in Northern Ireland are today living proof 'love can last right through from your schooldays'.

Seventy five years ago today Joseph Graham, 99, and Ellen (Nellie), 98, took their wedding vows in Grange Presbyterian church, Toomebridge, Co Antrim.

Then and now: Joseph and Ellen Graham

Then and now: Joseph and Ellen Graham

According to their granddaughter Joanne Graham, 32, they were "quite literally love's young dream", having met at Taylorstown Secondary School near Randalstown.

"Now they have three children, 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren," she added. "They still live in Randalstown.

"My granny even still washes her own windows and won't let anyone help her. She also has to get down the town every morning before 10am to get the messages and bakes for granda. He isn't as active as her so she helps take care of him."

Joanne said to celebrate their mammoth wedding anniversary, the couple, who wed in 1942, will simply "spend the day with family and friends".

"In the past, and up until recently, they always went to the same B&B in Portrush - Malvern House - that they had gone to on their honeymoon," added Joanne. "But they are not planning that this time."

She said when her granny is asked if she and her husband ever fall out "she always says no, adding that is down to plenty of porridge and no rows".

"I think it might be that granda says nothing and granny talks non-stop. It works for them. They really enjoyed the Twelfth in Randalstown last year and my granda is still a member of Taylorstown LOL 701. He was been in the Orange Order for 77 years now."

She added that her granda "after being a B-Special, was a Royal Ulster Constabulary officer working out of Musgrave Street in Belfast where he earned £3 a week".

"After leaving the RUC in 1947/48 he worked in the Old Bleach factory in Randalstown up until he retired in 1980. My granny worked as a caretaker in Randalstown Central Primary School when her children were up a bit."

Joanne said her grandparents will enjoy "a bit of fuss from family and friends" and "always look forward to their wedding anniversary card from the Queen".

"You could buy them nothing they would want; so we will stick to simple things".