THE Second World War was still five years away when lifelong lovebirds Tom and Ethel Husband tied the knot.
It would be two years before the Jarrow Marchers left the town to plead for work from Stanley Baldwin’s Government, while a strange man with an odd little moustache was steadily growing in political power in Germany.
But an amazing 78 years later, Tom and Ethel today celebrated their wedding anniversary with family and friends.
The happy couple live together in Hawthorn Court, Hebburn, where they raised their glasses to celebrate what is believed to be the longest marriage in South Tyneside.
Tom, 98, and 97-year-old Ethel are still devoted to one another, although Mr Husband said: “Ethel’s still the boss!”
The couple first set eyes on one another while strolling along Bede Burn Road, Jarrow, in the early 1930s.
The area was known locally as ‘the hen run’, where boys and girls had a chance of romantic encounters, in the days before nightclubs and wine bars.
Mr Husband said: “Ethel was a smart girl and she had a good sense of humour.”
Love blossomed, and the couple were married at St Mark’s Church in Salem Street, Jarrow, on October 8, 1934.
But money was tight in the hungry thirties, and a fancy honeymoon was out of the question.
Instead, the newlyweds contented themselves with a few days at the home of Mr Husband’s grandmother in Houghton-le-Spring.
Mr Husband served his time as a turner at Reyrolle in Hebburn.
With a natural aptitude for engineering, he eventually gained promotion at the borough switchgear company to senior production engineer, while dedicating much of his spare time to Sunderland Model Engineering Society, while also fine-tuning motorcycles and being a dedicated car enthusiast and driver until the age of 92.
Mrs Husband, meanwhile, raised two girls, Joyce and Catherine, and two boys, Kenneth and John, devoting spare time to making tapestries and sewing.
The Husband family was later expanded by the arrival of seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Eight years ago, the couple celebrated their platinum wedding, after 70 together, with a blessing at St John the Baptist Church, Scotch Estate, Jarrow.