Meet the couple still in love after 80 years of marriage

By Marion Brennan | South Staffordshire | News | Published:

Their marriage is on course to break a world record as Jack and Joan Bare become one of the few couples to be married for a remarkable 80 years.

Joan and Jack Bare, aged 100 and 102 respectively, have been married for 80 years

Their wedding took place a month before Britain declared war on Germany and while the world is a very different place today, their marriage has remained an unshakable constant.

Despite their great ages – Jack is 102 and Joan, 100 – they remain relatively fit and healthy, and until a few months ago lived independently, with Joan still cooking for them both.

Joan and Jack on their wedding day
Joan and Jack on their wedding day

And their response to the age-old question of the secret to a long and happy marriage is the age-old answer: "Give and take," says Joan.

They met at a cycling club in Kendal in their native Cumbria known locally as ‘the marriage bureau’ after several couples met their future lifetime partners there.

The 16-year-old girl with plaits immediately caught Jack’s eye and they enjoyed 100-mile cycle rides together most weekends.

Joan and Jack with family members who helped celebrate their milestone anniversary


For their wedding on August 3, 1939, Joan wore a white lace dress with an Elizabethan collar and a long train inlaid with satin.

Splashes of colour were provided by her bouquet of pink carnations and the deep blue silk dresses of the two bridesmaids, her sister and Jack’s cousin.

The reception for around 50 people was held at a local restaurant where they ate cold ham and tongue and tucked into a three-tier wedding cake.

Joan and Jack


Afterwards the couple honeymooned for 10 days in Scarborough, retaining the hotel receipt as a keepsake which is pasted in their album along with one of the wedding invitations.

Whilst living in Kendal, engineer Jack worked with Donald Campbell, killed in 1967 attempting to break the water-speed record on the ill-fated Bluebird at Coniston Water. Jack helped to make the boat’s rudder.

They were lured to the Midlands, initially to Coven, in 1979 by only child Gillian, whose husband Tony Skelton was European finance director for Tarmac.

The 1939 wedding invitation

Later they moved to Wheaton Aston in south Staffordshire and in retirement continued to cycle, swim and "look after each other".

Joan and Jack, known in the family as Jojo and Poppa, have two grandchildren, Jane, who lives in Hong Kong, and and Caroline, a confectioner, who made the couple's 80th anniversary cake.

They also have four great-grandchildren Toby, Charlotte, Isabelle and Reuben.

Joan Bare and Jack Bare on their wedding day

The couple's milestone celebration took place at Springfield House Care Home in Cosdall, where they moved just a couple of months ago. At the party, Jack linked Joan's arm and declared: "We still love each other very much."

Daughter Jane, 75, said: "You can tell by the way they look at each other that they adore each other. It's wonderful to see. They are remarkable."

Eighty years of memories
Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.


Top Stories


More from the Express & Star

UK & International News