A MAN celebrating his 70th wedding anniversary with his other half who lives at an Andover care home has said the secret to a long and happy marriage is to ‘let the wife be the boss.’

Richard and Joan Hills have been virtually inseparable after meeting as teenagers and marrying on a stormy Christmas Day at St John’s Church, Hammersmith, in 1947.

Since April last year Joan has lived at Harrier Grange Care Home, but the great-grandparents still see each other nearly every day as Richard goes to visit the woman who is ‘the best thing that ever happened to him.’

Richard, 91, worked in London for most of his life before his employer, Wilkinson Sword, relocated him to Wales in 1973, leading him to find a new role with agricultural business Watson & Haig in Andover, where the couple have lived ever since.

Joan had various jobs including working at factories making radio components during the Second World War.

The couple have two sons, Paul, 67, and Gary, 63, along with four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Richard joked: “The secret to a happy marriage is being kept on the ball and chain.

“But seriously the best thing that ever happened to me was meeting and marrying my beloved Joan.

“Family has always been very important to us and we wanted to give our children the best lives possible, which has helped to keep our relationship strong.”

Joan said she loves Richard’s calm nature. The 89-year-old said: “Richard has never been one to quarrel or lose his temper and is calm in every situation.

“It is simply not in his nature to bite back.”

Harrier Grange also congratulated the Hills and prepared the couple a special meal to commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

Councillor Carl Borg-Neal, mayor of Test Valley, also visited to wish them a happy anniversary.

Harrier Grange Care Home manager, Kay Kelly, said: “We would just like to say a huge congratulations from everybody at Harrier Grange to Joan and Richard on their 70th wedding anniversary. They are a fantastic couple and we wish them many more happy years together.”