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      Bristol couple share secrets from their 70-year marriage

      ByMonelo Gabriel

      Feb 14, 2023

      • By Tracey Miller and Dawn Limbu
      • bbc news


      Doreen and Brian Lealan were married while Mr. Lealan was on leave from the Army.

      A couple celebrating their platinum anniversary on Valentine’s Day have shared their tips for a long-lasting marriage.

      Doreen, 88, and Brian Lealan, 91, of Coalpit Heath in Bristol, married in 1953 while Brian was on sick leave from the army.

      After 70 years of marriage, the couple is still very much in love.

      Lealan said that her secret to making their relationship work was to give and take.


      Mr. and Mrs. Lealan hastily arranged their wedding when Mr. Lealan was called up for national service.

      “If you have an argument, you walk away and tomorrow is another day,” Lealan added.

      “Don’t hold grudges, otherwise you would never mend.”

      The couple said their love of ballroom dancing brought them together when they first met and hastily arranged the wedding when Mr Lealan was called in for the National Service.

      “The most important thing I remember about Doreen is that we could go to a dance together and dance the quick step, the foxtrot and that kind of thing,” Lealan said.

      “I think he was quite shy because I didn’t say much to him at the time,” Mrs Lealan said.


      His family gathered for his anniversary celebration.

      It wasn’t planned to be a Valentine’s Day wedding, but they overcame illness, postwar rationing, and even snow to make the day happen.

      Mrs Lealan said: “Being just after the war, things were still on rationing. So we had been saving up our coupons to buy different things and had been saving lots of tinned fruit and the like.

      “And we did it, almost.

      “And then it was postponed because I wasn’t well enough to leave the hospital to travel and it was postponed for a week and it turned out we got married on the 14th,” Ms Lealan added.


      Mr. and Mrs. Lealan are happily married with children and grandchildren.

      Post-war food rationing was still in place when they got married, and many weddings had to make do with cardboard and fake cake.


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