CHILDHOOD sweethearts from west Dorset are set to celebrate 70 years of marriage.

Lyme Regis couple Peter and Barbara Lacey, who are both 90, ran a club for young people with learning disabilities before their retirement.

They have enjoyed hiking and skiing together as well as working, and say theirs has been a “shared life”.

They will be celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary on Wednesday, April 24.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Peter and Barbara at their wedding in 1954Peter and Barbara at their wedding in 1954 (Image: Peter and Barbara Lacey)

The couple met when they were 15 in Feltham, Middlesex, now part of West London.

Peter said: “For me, it was love at first sight. Barbara needed a lot of persuasion.” 

They were engaged at 18, just before Peter was conscripted into the Army. When Peter was demobbed in 1954, they got married.

The couple, who have a son and a daughter, have been residents of Lyme Regis for the last 45 years.

“We feel we are very lucky. We are in a marriage that has always shared everything, problems and hopes,” said Peter. “It has been a shared life.”

Barbara was a secretary at the Lyme Regis Adventure Centre for 15 years. Peter was a district youth worker for the Axe Valley for 20 years and in the Lyme Auxiliary Coastguard for 12 years.

When Peter was 35 he wanted to stop working as an area manager in retail and go into youth work full-time. This meant becoming a mature student at college, something Peter says would not have been possible without Barbara’s support.

From there Peter and Barbara worked together to run a youth club.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Peter and Barbara at 16Peter and Barbara at 16 (Image: Peter and Barbara Lacey)

Peter said: “For 25 years we both ran the Axminster and District Gateway Club for people with learning disabilities.

“We both enjoyed hiking and have done so in several countries, including the Rockies and Alaska. If we were asked the secret of such a long marriage we would say ‘We are still in love’.”

They have enjoyed skiing in northern Spain, and hiking on Dartmoor and in Snowdonia.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Recent picture of Peter and BarbaraRecent picture of Peter and Barbara (Image: Peter and Barbara Lacey)

Despite retiring simultaneously, the couple have continued to work together.

Peter has been writing books about Lyme Regis’s history, aided by Barbara who has been acting as his secretary, typing up his longhand and giving her support.

Ten years ago for their 60th they threw a large affair inviting family from as far as America and Germany. This year however they have decided on a quieter celebration with their local family.