Plymouth couple get married in their 70s
A COUPLE getting hitched in their 70s have proved it is never too late to find true love.
While many of their generation are celebrating golden wedding anniversaries, Valerie Wills and Gordon Hill are preparing to tie the knot.
Retired gardener Valerie and former butcher Gordon fell for each other on a coach trip to Paris nine years ago.
After eight years of living together they have finally set the date for this weekend.
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The Plympton pair are marrying at Plymouth Register Office on Saturday – and have asked guests to donate money to charity instead of giving presents.
Donations will go to St Luke's Hospice in memory of Valerie's sister Marion Lea who died of ovarian cancer.
Valerie, a widow, and Gordon, a widower, have a combined total of seven children, 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren from their previous marriages.
Valerie, aged 72, said: "We met on a coach trip to Monet's Garden in France. Neither of us was looking for somebody but it was love at first sight.
"I was in the back of the bus with a woman friend when Gordon got on in Plymouth with his daughter. He was quite tall and I couldn't stop looking at him.
"I knew we'd connect straight away. At out stage of life you don't hang around."
On returning from the coach trip, the pair kept in touch by telephone and then Valerie, who lived in Delabole, North Cornwall, began visiting him in Plymouth.
"We just said we'd give it a go and move in together," said Valerie. "You can imagine what the villagers in Delabole were saying.
"It's been a wonderful eight years. I had a wonderful first marriage but you can't live in the past. Life is what you make it."
Valerie has lost a stone and a half – dropping from 12 to 10 and a half stone in around six months – simply through taking long walks and eating smaller meals.
She said: "People think they can't afford to lose weight, to join a weight-loss club or gym. But it doesn't have to cost a penny. I feel so much better and fitter and all I've had to buy is smaller clothes."
The couple are celebrating their wedding with family and friends on Saturday, followed by a reception at Lockyer's Quay pub in Cattedown.
Gordon, 75, said: "From when I first met her I thought she was marvellous, terrific.
"A proposal might have come sooner but the thing is I can't get down on my knees very well. I'm going to have a hip replacement not after we get married. We'll have our honeymoon next year when I'm bit more mobile."
Valerie and Gordon take regular coach trips together, with destinations including Ostend, Edinburgh, Brighton, Loch Lomond, the Isle of Wight, Scarborough and Eastbourne.