An elderly woman from Erith says being able to “agree to disagree” is the secret to a long and happy marriage, as her and her husband celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

On Thursday (March 14), the team at Heathfield Court Care Home in Erith hosted a party for residents Pam and Hugh Marley, as the couple celebrate 60 years of marriage.

Hugh, 83, is a former Ministry of Defence engineer and he met his wife at a college dance in 1959, when they were both teenagers.

The childhood sweethearts were married at Bromley Baptist Church five years later.

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As the couple looked back on photos from their wedding day, Pam, 81, explained their initial attraction and shared memories of their special day.

“I fell for Hugh’s blue eyes and his motorbike, a Matchless 500.” Pam said.

She added: “Our wedding day didn’t get off to the best start as Hugh’s best man had forgotten the wedding rings.

“Luckily, I was able to borrow a ring from Angela, an old school friend.

“She also lent me her wedding veil too; it was full length and I adored wearing it.”

Pam is a retired primary school teacher, who said the reason that her and Hugh had such a long and happy marriage is “being able to disagree”.

She explained: “We have always had a lot of respect for each other, and though we don’t always agree on everything, it’s our rule that we never go to bed on an argument.”

Pam and Hugh have been residents at Heathfield Court since November, and staff helped the couple to mark their 60 years of marriage with an Italian-themed party.

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The pair said to be “delighted” with the team’s efforts to make their diamond wedding anniversary a day to remember.

Pam added: “The whole day was wonderful.

“The meal was all our favourite Italian dishes – this is one thing Hugh and I definitely agree on.”

Heathfield Court is a purpose-built, luxury care home, located Colyers Lane in Erith, it provides residential, nursing and specialist dementia care.

With support from the Marleys’ two daughters, Sam and Teri, hospitality manager Donna Jewiss organised a private dining experience for the happy couple to enjoy with their family.

Donna said: “Pam and Hugh have always loved Italian food, so our chefs served a three-course meal of bruschetta, lasagne, and tiramisu, followed by a specially made cake.

“We organised for the couple to be serenaded by Italian singer Santino Fabrricatore, who later entertained the rest of the residents as they joined in the celebrations with dancing and a sing-along.

“It’s always lovely to see how devoted Pam and Hugh are to each other. Although they live on different floors – Pam in our residential suite and Hugh in our specialist dementia suite – they spend most of their time together.

“We support them to share mealtimes together, spend time in the garden, and participate in activities. This is their home, so we make sure there are no barriers to having quality time together.”

Nicola Martin, manager at Heathfield Court, said: “Pam and Hugh arrived for respite care and had no intention of staying with us long-term, but with reassurance from myself and the team they decided to give it a go.

“Hugh is living with dementia and although Pam is very independent, she often struggles with her balance. They eventually made Heathfield Court their permanent home and are both very happy here.”

Sam Marley, one of the couple’s daughters, added: “We are very happy with the care Mum and Dad receive.

“It’s been a huge relief from worrying about them as we know they are being well looked after.

“Everyone at Heathfield Court are so lovely and caring and really go above and beyond to take care of their residents.

“The team’s efforts in helping our parents to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary is the perfect example of this.”