A COUPLE from Caerwent celebrated a very special anniversary on Tuesday (January 22), marking 70 years since they got married.

Sheila and Douglas Mclean, who live in Caerwent, celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary on the weekend with a huge family gathering at the nearby Coach and Horses Inn

"We had plenty of balloons and flowers, and the restaurant was decorated beautifully," Mrs Mclean said. More than 30 family members and friends joined the couple to celebrate their milestone anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Mclean later enjoyed a quieter anniversary-day lunch at the Huntsman Hotel in Shirenewton.

And, speaking at home on Tuesday, the couple recalled memories of their wedding, held at the old All Saints Church in Newport in 1949.

"I can't believe it's been 70 years – I feel prehistoric," Mr Mclean, 91 said.

Mr Mclean, who was in the merchant navy when he met his bride-to-be, was posted to New Zealand shortly after their wedding, and upon his return sought a change of career so that the two could spend more time together.

He studied industrial chemistry, later working at the Newport power stations, among other places. Mrs Mclean worked as a clerk, including a position at the Alcan plant in Rogerstone.

Following their retirement, the couple left Newport and moved to Caerwent, and it was in their home in the village, in a room packed full of ballons, cards, and bouquets of flowers that they celebrated the beginning of their 71st year of marriage.

One of the cards had been sent from Buckingham Palace, with the Queen congratulating the couple, just as she had done ten years previously on their diamond anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Mclean said they had enjoyed many trips abroad, including a train tour of India, a "fabulous" boat trip along the Norwegian coast, and cruises to Madeira and the West Indies.

The couple were in a jovial mood as they recounted tales of married life. When asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage, Mr Mclean said it involved saying "sorry, it was my fault, and I apologise" as often as possible.

"I'm not sure if that works, because I haven't heard it for a long time," Mrs Mclean replied.