'Love at first sight': One of UK’s longest married couples celebrate 80th wedding anniversary

Ross McGuinness
·3 min read
Ron (100) and Beryl (98) Golightly, who have been married for 80 years, pictured at home near Harrogate, North Yorks. See SWNS story SWLEcouple; A husband and wife who met in their teens have become one of Britain's longest married couples after they celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. Ron Golightly met his beloved Beryl when he was just 16 when one of his pals wolf-whistled at his future wife's friends as they walked past the group in the street. A 14-year-old Beryl turned round to see what was going on and instantly fell in love with Ron's curly hair and cheeky smile and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Beryl, now 98, said of Ron, now 100: "I just knew as soon as I saw him I was going to marry him. “I was 14 and Ron was 16, it was very much love at first sight. “A couple of days later we spoke again and went for a walk, we were more or less a couple straight away. “I thought he had whistled at me and I just fell in love with his cheeky grin straight away.” The couple tied the knot in their hometown of Harrogate, North Yorks., in 1941 while Ron, who served in the Brigadier Guards, was on leave from the Army during World War II.
Ron and Beryl Golightly met when they were teenagers and just celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. (SWNS)

One of Britain’s longest married couples, who met when they were teenagers, have just celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary.

Beryl and Ron Golightly, 98 and 100 respectively, married in their hometown of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in 1941 while he was on leave from the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War.

The couple first met when Beryl was 14 and Ron was 16 and one of his friends wolf-whistled at her group as they passed each other in the street.

"I just knew as soon as I saw him I was going to marry him,” said Beryl. “I was 14 and Ron was 16, it was very much love at first sight.

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“A couple of days later we spoke again and went for a walk, we were more or less a couple straight away.

“I thought he had whistled at me and I just fell in love with his cheeky grin straight away.”

Ron and Beryl with their daughters Margaret and Sue in the 1950s. See SWNS story SWLEcouple; A husband and wife who met in their teens have become one of Britain's longest married couples after they celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. Ron Golightly met his beloved Beryl when he was just 16 when one of his pals wolf-whistled at his future wife's friends as they walked past the group in the street. A 14-year-old Beryl turned round to see what was going on and instantly fell in love with Ron's curly hair and cheeky smile and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Beryl, now 98, said of Ron, now 100: "I just knew as soon as I saw him I was going to marry him. “I was 14 and Ron was 16, it was very much love at first sight. “A couple of days later we spoke again and went for a walk, we were more or less a couple straight away. “I thought he had whistled at me and I just fell in love with his cheeky grin straight away.” The couple tied the knot in their hometown of Harrogate, North Yorks., in 1941 while Ron, who served in the Brigadier Guards, was on leave from the Army during World War II.
Ron and Beryl Golightly with their daughters Margaret and Sue in the 1950s. (SWNS)

The couple had to apply for a special marriage licence because Ron’s leave was cancelled twice, and their wedding was so impromptu they had no photographer, and asked a passer-by in the street to be the best man.

“We got married when I was 18 in 1941,” said Beryl. “I don’t know if he even proposed, we just spoke about the time in the future when we were married.

“There was no great romantic proposal, he definitely wasn’t down on one knee. We just started planning a wedding.”

Beryl, a former shop assistant, and Ron, a former HGV driver, have two daughters, Margaret and Sue, six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandson.

Ron aged 17 in his Grenadier Guards uniform. See SWNS story SWLEcouple; A husband and wife who met in their teens have become one of Britain's longest married couples after they celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. Ron Golightly met his beloved Beryl when he was just 16 when one of his pals wolf-whistled at his future wife's friends as they walked past the group in the street. A 14-year-old Beryl turned round to see what was going on and instantly fell in love with Ron's curly hair and cheeky smile and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Beryl, now 98, said of Ron, now 100: "I just knew as soon as I saw him I was going to marry him. “I was 14 and Ron was 16, it was very much love at first sight. “A couple of days later we spoke again and went for a walk, we were more or less a couple straight away. “I thought he had whistled at me and I just fell in love with his cheeky grin straight away.” The couple tied the knot in their hometown of Harrogate, North Yorks., in 1941 while Ron, who served in the Brigadier Guards, was on leave from the Army during World War II.
Ron Golightly aged 17 in his Grenadier Guards uniform. (SWNS)
Five generations of the Golightly family. Ron and Beryl, daughter Sue, granddaughter Vicky, great granddaughter Laura and great great grandson Mason. See SWNS story SWLEcouple; A husband and wife who met in their teens have become one of Britain's longest married couples after they celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. Ron Golightly met his beloved Beryl when he was just 16 when one of his pals wolf-whistled at his future wife's friends as they walked past the group in the street. A 14-year-old Beryl turned round to see what was going on and instantly fell in love with Ron's curly hair and cheeky smile and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Beryl, now 98, said of Ron, now 100: "I just knew as soon as I saw him I was going to marry him. “I was 14 and Ron was 16, it was very much love at first sight. “A couple of days later we spoke again and went for a walk, we were more or less a couple straight away. “I thought he had whistled at me and I just fell in love with his cheeky grin straight away.” The couple tied the knot in their hometown of Harrogate, North Yorks., in 1941 while Ron, who served in the Brigadier Guards, was on leave from the Army during World War II.
Ron and Beryl Golightly with their daughter Sue, granddaughter Vicky, great-granddaughter Laura and great-great-grandson Mason. (SWNS)

The couple celebrated their 80th anniversary on 8 January with an Oak Wedding Anniversary card from the Queen.

The card is the fourth they have received from the royal household, after being sent cards for their 70th and 75th anniversaries and Ron’s 100th birthday. He once stood on sentry duty outside Buckingham Palace.

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Asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage, Beryl said: “Tell me a couple who haven’t had rows, but we always resolved the arguments.

“We would talk the problems out, I think that is the key. You need to communicate and talk to each other. I don’t think enough people talk to each other these days.

Ron (100) and Beryl (98) Golightly, who have been married for 80 years, pictured at home near Harrogate, North Yorks. See SWNS story SWLEcouple; A husband and wife who met in their teens have become one of Britain's longest married couples after they celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary. Ron Golightly met his beloved Beryl when he was just 16 when one of his pals wolf-whistled at his future wife's friends as they walked past the group in the street. A 14-year-old Beryl turned round to see what was going on and instantly fell in love with Ron's curly hair and cheeky smile and the pair have been inseparable ever since. Beryl, now 98, said of Ron, now 100: "I just knew as soon as I saw him I was going to marry him. “I was 14 and Ron was 16, it was very much love at first sight. “A couple of days later we spoke again and went for a walk, we were more or less a couple straight away. “I thought he had whistled at me and I just fell in love with his cheeky grin straight away.” The couple tied the knot in their hometown of Harrogate, North Yorks., in 1941 while Ron, who served in the Brigadier Guards, was on leave from the Army during World War II.
Ron and Beryl Golightly have been married for 80 years. (SWNS)

“We fell in love very young and we are still in love now.”

Their daughter, Sue Johnson, 75, said the family is very close and it was sad they could not celebrate the couple’s anniversary together because of coronavirus restrictions.

She added: “They were in love then and they’re still in love now, it never changed and that’s why they’re still going strong.”

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