A husband and wife who insist they have had just one major argument in 50 years of marriage have been named as Britain’s happiest couple.
Grandparents Barry and Leslie Holmes have only spent a fortnight apart during their half century of marriage and said their love is stronger now than it ever has been.
The pair met as teenagers and tied the knot three days after Barry’s 21st birthday, in 1969 which he described as the “best present he could ever ask for”.
They have been inseparable ever since and still enjoy road trips, meals out and put their happiness down to a shared sense of humour . Leslie, 72, said: “We’re always finishing each other’s sentences and making each other laugh.
“I just love him, the excitement I got when I first looked at him is still there.
“People ask ‘how have you made it work?’ and I always say ‘how can it not work?’”
The couple have only ever had one argument when they were much younger and moving in together for the first time.
Leslie said: “We were getting a new sofa – Barry was at work and I went to pick it up, but they didn’t have the colour we wanted. “Barry refused to move into a new house with the old second hand sofa we already had and the next day he went to the store and got a new one.
“We’d lived with his mum before and I think the pressure of the move got to him.”
The couple, who have two daughters, Tracy and Amanda, and four grandchildren, have barely had a cross word since then and say they enjoy each other’s company as much as they did 50 years ago.
Barry, 71, said: “The only time we are not together is the two days a week I work delivering prescriptions and she lets me have half a day for a game of golf.
“In all our time together, the longest we’ve been apart is when I did a fortnight-long HGV driving course.”
The couple first met as teenagers at a family gathering and instantly hit it off.
They dated for a couple of years, but broke up when Barry was 17.
During the 18 months they were apart, Barry realised what Leslie meant to him and asked his cousin if she was seeing anyone.
His cousin confirmed she was single and asked if he was going to ask her out, to which Barry replied: “I’m going to ask her to marry me.”
He popped the question when the couple reunited after their break-up.
Leslie said: “He told me some of our friends were going to Blackpool for engagement rings and asked if I fancied it.
“I said ‘what, going to Blackpool?’ and she said ‘no, getting engaged’!”
Barry added: “That time apart made me realise how much Leslie meant to me. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
“The love is stronger now than it ever was. I don’t regret one minute, proposing was the best decision I’ve ever made. “We got married on August 9, my 21st birthday was August 6. It was the best birthday present I could ever ask for.”
The couple, of Fleetwood, Lancs., were named the country’s happiest couple after entering a competition run by jewellers Beaverbrooks,
The story of their wedded bliss is to feature on a poster campaign to promote the firm.
Leslie added: “We got our wedding rings from Beaverbrooks in Blackpool so we were absolutely over the moon when we got the call from them to say we had won.”