With divorces increasing and fewer weddings, the chances of completing 50 years of marriage are diminishing.

So three, if not four, cheers for this family who have celebrated four golden anniversaries in the last 70 years.

First to reach the landmark were John and Susannah Bough, who lived at 435 Marston Road, Oxford.

John and Susannah Bough

John and Susannah Bough

They celebrated their anniversary with a family party in 1952, having married in 1902. The Oxford Mail carried a picture of them, with a brief report.

Mr Bough was a painter and decorator and was still working at the age of 76. He and his wife, 75, had an enormous family, with five children, 34 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Next in line were the Boughs’ daughter, Constance, and her husband, John Cox, who celebrated their golden anniversary in 1969.

They were married at Carfax Register Office in 1919, two months after they met at a police fete at Iffley Road. Constance was 16 and John had recently been demobbed from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

Constance and John Cox

Constance and John Cox

Later, he worked as a college servant at Christ Church and University College, earning £1 19s 7d (£1.98) a week, then spent 34 years as a paint sprayer at the Morris Motors’ car factory.

They were among the first families to move to the Blackbird Leys estate in 1960. When they reached their golden anniversary, they had 12 children, 36 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Constance told the Oxford Mail: “Of course, it has been difficult to make ends meet with so many children, but they have all been marvellous. We couldn’t have wished for better.”

The family organised a secret party for them at Blackbird Leys community centre, with a bouquet of 50 golden roses and a celebratory cake.

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The third couple to celebrate were Audrey Cullimore, the Coxes’ daughter, and her husband George, who completed 50 years of marriage in 1997.

George worked at Morris Motors for 40 years, while Audrey was at Woolworths in Cowley Centre. They celebrated with a family meal at their home in Barns Road, Cowley.

Audrey and George Cullimore

Audrey and George Cullimore

The fourth couple to reach their 50th were Audrey and George Cullimore’s daughter, Marilyn Carey, and her husband, Eugene, on January 16 this year. They now live in North Wales.

They met at Christmas 1966 – Marilyn was playing carols with the City of Oxford Silver Band while Eugene was collecting door to door. They married at Our Lady’s Church at Cowley.

Marilyn and Eugene Carey

Marilyn and Eugene Carey

Eugene worked as an electrician at British Leyland before joining BOCM, an animal feed company. Marilyn is an expert in electron microscopy. They have one grand-daughter, Lucy.

Their daughter, Dr Michelle Carey, senior commissioning editor (books) at the Royal Society of Chemistry, contacted Memory Lane to reveal the wonderful record of romance in her family.

She tells me: “This is a nice uplifting story around love and sticking together through tough times, which provides a nice antidote to the current environment.

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“With all those grandchildren they had in those days, lots of relatives are still in the Oxford area. Unless I get married pretty smartish, I think the record stops with my parents.”