Love birds marry in style – on groom’s 85th birthday

CONGRATULATIONS Doug Barlow, 85, and his wife Jill, 81, after their wedding. Pictures: Sarah Standing (133153-7776)
CONGRATULATIONS Doug Barlow, 85, and his wife Jill, 81, after their wedding. Pictures: Sarah Standing (133153-7776)
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THEY describe themselves as ‘recycled teenagers’ and there was certainly the look of young love about them when two octogenarians wed.

Retired Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Doug Barlow tied the knot with 81-year-old Jill Smith on Saturday – his 85th birthday.

The pair were joined by family and friends to mark the romantic occasion at The Brookfield Hotel, Emsworth, after 17 years together.

Mr Barlow will be familiar to readers of The News because he has written more than 100 letters to the editor over the past 25 years and is a regular contributor to our Remember When pages.

He said: ‘It was absolutely wonderful. We sang, danced, and had a jolly good knees-up.

‘I’d been on my own since I divorced in 1965, so it’s my second marriage in 62 years. I joked in my wedding speech that I’m beginning to make a habit of this getting married business!’

The happy couple met on a singles holiday 17 years ago and Mrs Barlow, of Main Road, Emsworth, puts their compatibility down to their shared sense of humour.

She said: ‘We laugh together throughout the day. That’s so important.

‘The wedding was splendid, absolutely fabulous.

‘I feel different since getting married – even though we’ve been together so long. It’s the end result.

‘It began when I worked at Havant Leisure Centre, and I heard Doug chatting to the receptionists, before I met him. At the time the Fun Club ran holidays and trips and I went on a singles holiday with a few friends.

‘We were introduced by a mutual friend and we started going out and about together on the holiday, dancing in the evening, swimming in the pool, going on day trips.

‘Fortunately we only lived a few miles away from each other and it carried on back home.’

Mrs Barlow’s family joined them at the wedding and after the meal they brought out guitars and had a sing-song for the rest of the evening.

She added: ‘It was great fun. Doug refers to us as recycled teenagers, and that’s exactly how we feel.

‘I don’t think either of us feel our age until we sit down and can’t get up again without a struggle!’