Published: 00:01, 17 June 2013
A devoted couple photographed as a carnival bride and groom at the age of four are celebrating a lifetime of love – 70 years of it married.
Childhood sweethearts Ron and Eileen Everest, both 91, said they have spent their entire lives loving each other after being born seven months apart in the same maternity unit in Gillingham.
Their unbreakable bond was forged in their first four years as their two families were close to each other with both their sailor fathers fighting together in the First World War.
Ron, who lived in Copenhagen Road, and Eileen, who lived in Harold Avenue, were forced apart just after the fading black and white photo of them in wedding fancy dress was taken in 1926 when their parents moved away.
Eileen's family moved to Greenwich, but Ron's left for a new life in Scotland.
But fate brought them back together 14 years later when both families coincidentally returned to live near each other in Welling, south east London.
The couple were then both 18 and Eileen had just started working in a wool factory and was eager to try out its telephone - then still a rarity for most people.
She asked her mother who she should make her first-ever call to and she suggested her friend Gertrude who was Ron's mother.
Within an instant their childhood friendship was rekindled and romance quickly followed.
By then Ron had followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Royal Navy and he wasted no time in proposing and Eileen still treasures his letter from 1940.
They promised to keep "a lifeline" of letters between them as Ron went off to war – seeing action in the Far East and hellish Arctic convoys.
They eventually married for real on June 7, 1943 and have just celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary with their daughter and grandson.
The couple said the secret to their life-long happiness was simply love.
Ron, born seven months before Eileen at the Royal Naval and Maritime Maternity Hospital in Gillingham, said: "We have been in love from the age of zero.
"We were born in the same maternity hospital - we might have even been born in the same bed.
"We promised to love, honour and obey - and I did all the obeying."
Eileen said: "Ours is quite an unusual story, especially these days, but we have got on well together most of the time.
"I can still remember the day we first dressed as a bride and groom, even though we were only four.
"Our mothers were both good with a needle so they made the costumes and we walked all round Gillingham in them."
In 1986 the couple moved to Dereham in Norfolk in 1986 to be near their family - daughter Carol, 68 and grandson Maxwell, 38.