A DEVOTED Ringwood couple celebrated seven decades of happiness together as they passed their platinum wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve.

Eric Trill and his wife Elizabeth, known as Joan, marked the occasion with a big party for their ever expanding family – which includes children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and even great great granddaughter Paige, just 18-months. They received a card from the Queen congratulating them on their anniversary and wishing them a merry Christmas too.

The couple met during the war when they both worked at Wellworthy Engineering in the town where Eric, and engineer, worked for 49 years.

But it wasn’t love at first sight, said Joan. “I had an Air Force man,” she added.

“I was teasing him really – but he won in the end with his charm.”

They married at Ringwood and had their first son John soon after. The first few years of married life were spent living with Eric’s parents, before they took on their first home together, a Wellworthy property on Wessex Road. Apart from a few years at Three Legged Cross the couple have always called Ringwood home, and have lived in their house at Fairlie Park for 35 years.

They had three children together – Peter, 65, Mary, 64 and the eldest, John, who sadly lost his battle with cancer two months ago, aged 69.

Joan, 89, told the Echo: “It’s a very happy marriage. We’re devoted to one another of course. We always say thank you one another for everything. We appreciate each other and everything we do for each other – that’s how it’s got to be.”

Eric is now partially sighted and relies on his wife to care for him.

“She’s absolutely devoted really, she can’t do enough for me,” he added.

Now aged 90 he is still making her laugh, joking: “I’m just getting to know her now,” as he chatted to the Echo.

“I know him inside out – I can’t imagine life without him,” added Joan.

The couple are also among the most devoted readers of the Daily Echo – having taking a copy every day for decades.

Daughter Mary Phillips told the Echo: “They’ve read the Echo every day for I don’t know how many years. I thought it would be nice for them to read their own news!”