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Peter and Dora Lucas of Northfleet celebrate 75th wedding anniversary

From the tail end of the Second World War to England winning the World Cup; from the first man on the moon to the fall of the Berlin Wall; one couple have been side-by-side for many of history’s most defining moments.

To reach the age of 75 is an achievement, but for a marriage to last quite so long makes for an extremely rare anniversary indeed.

Family and friends of Peter and Dora Lucas have certainly found it difficult to buy a card befitting the milestone and have run out of present ideas too.

Peter and Dora Lucas, of Lanes Avenue, Northfleet, have been married for 75 years
Peter and Dora Lucas, of Lanes Avenue, Northfleet, have been married for 75 years

Not that there could be much else the pair need to improve their spirits, with them both still completely besotted and thoroughly content with life at their Northfleet home all these years later.

“These were all new houses in 1950 when we moved in,” said Peter, 96. This one and the one next door were the first houses occupied on this road.

“It used to be that there was quite a little community of shops. You had a butcher, a baker, a greengrocer, but that all changed when the supermarket came in.

“But we have never really had any reason to move. We have always got on well here.”

Peter and Dora’s love for each other began years before the move to Lanes Avenue, though, with both of them working in the same local factory.

Eventually Peter, born in Southfleet on November 1, 1920, worked up the courage to ask her on a date to the cinema, with Dora’s impressive memory recalling the screening of Hatter’s Castle starring James Mason.

They were married at St Botolph’s Church in Northfleet on September 19, 1942, with the war raging.

Peter and Dora on their wedding day
Peter and Dora on their wedding day

At that time Peter was in the Army, travelling to Northern Island, France and Belgium, while Dora, 93, remained a factory worker.

“I would not want any of you to have to live through a war,” said Dora, who was born in Northfleet on November 14, 1923.

“Never again would I want to see something like that.”

After the war the couple moved in to live with Dora’s parents, and their son Colin was born in September 1947, with daughter Christine following in January 1950.

They became a very active family, enjoying domestic holidays, hosting meals, dinner-dances, and Peter and Dora attended a classical music society.

Peter, who spent his whole working life at Henley’s Tyre Factory in Northfleet before retiring in 1985, also brewed his own beer and grew his own vegetables.

Meanwhile, Dora worked part-time at the local post office once the children went to school.

Peter and Dora, with the best man and bridesmaids, outside St Botolph's Church, Northfleet
Peter and Dora, with the best man and bridesmaids, outside St Botolph's Church, Northfleet

Daughter Christine, who now lives in Surrey, recalled: “We were always a very close-knit family, partly because mum’s sister was married to dad’s brother.

“They had four children and we were as close as you could possibly be without being brothers and sisters.

“They lived locally so we spent holidays together and Christmas together and now we try do the same thing even though there are a few departed characters.”

Peter and Dora have two grandchildren, Thomas and Kirsty, and two great-grandchildren, nine-year-old Amelia and three-year-old Natalia.

They enjoy regular visits from their ever-growing family but in the meantime Peter enjoys tackling jigsaw puzzles and Dora makes hand-knitted toys for the ellenor hospice, which have raised more than £1,000.

They also regularly head to the shops, each riding their own mobility scooter, with Dora a little frustrated that hers doesn’t go quite as fast as her husband’s!

"I know that I couldn’t get on without Dora" - Peter Lucas

The anniversary is so rare, it does not even have its own traditional symbol – just like 60 years, 75 years is diamond. The couple will mark it with a family get-together.

They do not put their long marriage down to one particular thing, but Peter said: “I know that I couldn’t get on without Dora.”

Dora replied: “I’ve enjoyed it and always been very happy.”

Christine continued: “I am so proud of both of them and I am absolutely amazed that they got through to 75 years of marriage and the happy life they have had and given to us.

“All the things we have ever needed they have been behind us all the way and still are. They are an excellent team, there’s no doubt about that.”

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