Care home couple share the secrets of long and happy marriageIn the run up to Valentine’s Day, a couple in a local care home have been reflecting on their 61 years of marriage to share their secrets to a happy union. 

At HC-One’s The Harefield care home in Uxbridge, Middlesex, resident Gillian Martin, 87 years old, and her husband, Derek Martin, also 87 years old, have been married for 61 years and have been sharing fond memories of how they first met and fell in love. 

Gillian is originally from Edenbridge in Kent and used to work as an accountant, and Derek used to work as an engineer in the auto industry. Gillian and Derek first met on the 12th September 1960 at a dance at the Hammersmith Palace. Derek remembers initially spotting Gillian at the beginning on the night but soon lost her in the crowd. 

Sometime later, he was able to find her and ask her to dance. Gillian had already turned down two offers to dance that night, but she happily accepted Derek’s offer to dance. Derek bought Gillian a drink and offered to drive her home, by coincidence, it turned out that they both lived in Shepherd’s Bush, only five roads away from each other. 

Derek visits Gillian often and plays an active role in the home’s life. Both Gillian and Derek enjoy watching the entertainers who visit The Harefield perform as well as attending different trips outside of the care home including the local park, Rickmansworth Aquadrome and even a Daytime Disco at their local Compass Theatre in Ickenham. 

When asked about what their secret to a happy marriage was, Derek Martin commented: 
“My secret to a long-lasting marriage is compatibility. Gillian and I have the same interests as each other including theatre, music and dancing. We’ve been married for 61 years so it's obviously worked!”