Sunderland couple who have celebrated 65 years of marriage say it's all about 'give and take'

A Sunderland couple who have been married for more than 65 years now have three great-great-grandchildren.

Saturday, 26th October 2019, 9:00 am
Updated Saturday, 26th October 2019, 9:00 am
Irene and John Priest pictured together after celebrating 65 years of marriage. Right: The happy couple on their wedding day in 1954

It was love at first sight for John and Irene Priest who met at a Sunderland youth club on Irene’s 18th birthday.

The couple’s relationship blossomed and they married two years later in July 1954 at St Aidan’s Church in Grangetown.

Now the Sapphire couple have two sons, 12 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and three great-great- grandchildren and say they couldn’t be prouder of their family.

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John and Irene Priest, of Auckland Homes, Hill View Road, Sunderland.

Their family have described the couple as being ‘one in a million’ and will be there for anyone in their time of need.

Over the years, Irene, 87, worked in various shops, canteens, cafes and even worked as a lollipop lady. While John spent most of his career at Hepworth’s before finishing at Rolls Royce engines until he retired 26 years ago.

John, 86, said: “We’ve spent a lifetime together – I met Irene when I was just 17.

“I was at her 18th birthday and that’s when we hit it off, it’s just kept on growing since then.”

Ava, 2, pictured with her great-great-grandparents

When asked what the secret to a long and happy marriage is, John said: “You need to be prepared to give and take. We both have had to compromise on things and you have to be prepared to share.

“I’m so proud of the life we’ve had.”

Now the couple enjoy watching films together and caring for their many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

The couple now have three sets of five generations in their family – two great-great-granddaughters Ava and Sienna and great-great-grandson George.

The couple's great-great-grandchildren George, 4, and Sienna, 3

Granddaughter, Melanie Priest Stewart, said: “They are the most loveliest people you will ever meet, always happy.

“Their front door is always open with the kettle on for any of their friends and family.

“No matter what problems they have with their health they always have a smile on their faces.

“They love their home to be full of the kids and they always offer to have the kids for the day if we need them too.

“They really are one in a million.”