A BOURNEMOUTH couple who wed on Valentine’s Day 70 years ago said sharing “a laugh and a joke” is the secret to a successful marriage.

Eric and Doris Steele, aged 94 and 93 respectively, will celebrate both their platinum anniversary and Valentine’s Day today with lunch at the Pebble Beach restaurant at Barton-on-Sea.

The couple, of Southwick Road, Iford, only got married on February 14 because that was when Eric was granted leave from the Army.

Just four months later, he was taking part in the D-Day Landings at Gold Beach before finishing his service as a Company Quartermaster Sergeant in Germany.

He said: “We didn’t know it was Valentine’s Day. That wasn’t such a big thing in those days, people didn’t go around buying a dozen red roses and things like that back then.

“But it’s good because it means I have no excuse whatsoever for forgetting either Valentine’s Day or our anniversary.”

The pair married at Bournemouth Registry Office in Old Christchurch Road.

Eric said: “I don’t think we celebrated much, it’s hard to remember.”

Doris added: “I wasn’t dressed up in a white dress or anything like that. I was in ordinary attire.”

The couple had three children and now have five grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild. Their daughter Carol lives in Australia and the pair have made several journeys over to the other side of the world to catch up with her and her family.

When asked what their secret is, Eric said: “I think a laugh and a joke.

“We get on very well together. It was love at first sight, no doubt about that.”

And Doris said: “We’ve had our ups and downs now and again but we think so much of one another. We don’t row or anything.”