Hainault man explains the secret of staying married for 60 years

Geoff and Joan Perry celebrating their diamond wedding anniversaryThey served with the Salvatio

Geoff and Joan Perry celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary They served with the Salvation Army and are wearing their uniforms. - Credit: Archant

A couple who dedicated their lives to the Salvation Army celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary true to form dressed in their officer uniforms.

Geoff and Joan Perry at their wedding in 1953

Geoff and Joan Perry at their wedding in 1953 - Credit: Archant

Geoff and Joan Perry of Clinton Crescent, Hainault spent more than four decades working for the Salvation Army with postings to Korea, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with friends and family at the Salvation Army, Clements Road, Ilford.

Geoff says he was taken with Joan from the first time he saw her at church one Sunday and he pursued her for almost five years before they married in 1953.

He said: “I fell in love with her at first sight - I really did love her from first sight. There was no one else and that’s how it’s been all the way through until now.”

When they met both Geoff, 84, and Joan, 82, were training to become officers in the Salvation Army and once this was completed they married in Clapton.

He says the key to six decades of happy marriage is to focus on the immediate and forget disagreements.

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“One of the secrets is living a day at a time and if you have an argument get over it quickly,” he said. “Don’t harbour resentments in your life. You have to be forgiving and forgetting.”

Joan was born in Korea and the couple volunteered to return there for their first overseas posting in 1960.

Geoff said: “We were running the boys orphanage home and had 200 boys calling us mum and dad. It was a great job and some of them were orphans from the Korean War.”

They then returned to the UK before jetting off again to Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia, for six years where they ran a church.

They later took up a post in Zambia where they headed up the Salvation Army’s mission for the entire country.

The couple have three children, Gillian, Renton and Keith and ten grandchildren as well as two great grandchildren.