Two pensioners who dedicated over 50 years to their first marriages plan to tie-the knot again at 82, proving you are never too old to get married.
Widowed Josephine Brown and her sweetheart Barry Moore said they didn’t gave romance a thought after nursing their first loves until they died.
But the happy couple have a new spring in their step after falling for each other at a dance – and are now urging others to get out there and live their best sunset years.
Josephine, who turns 82 on October 3, told Belfast Live: “We don’t know how long we’ve got in life so we are going to make the best of it.
“We do love each other very much.”
“We are hoping to get married in January,” added Barry.
“My life has completely changed because I want to be with Josephine now.”
Barry, 82, lost his wife Pat two years ago while Josephine was a widow of seven years when they crossed paths.
“We had both nursed our partners,” added Josephine. “I nursed David for about four or five years with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. After that I really was alone. I went for about a year without doing anything.
“Maybe some people are contented to sit at home – I thought I was,” added the retiree.
“My friends kept taking me out and that’s where I learned the line dancing and ballroom…[but] you still came home at night and you were sitting there on your own and Barry was doing the same thing.”
The lovebirds, who are “never parted” now and “don’t argue”, first set eyes on each other 18 months ago at Newtownabbey British Legion where Barry is on the committee.
But things might have been very different had Josephine’s pal accepted Barry’s offer to dance.
“I asked her friend first and she refused and said ‘Josephine will dance with you’ and that was it,” explained the retired civil servant.
“I thought I would get an odd dance – but not meet someone and keep seeing them.
“Three months after my wife died I was going to the Legion and it was funny how I noticed Josephine. I went up and asked her for a dance as I enjoyed that she could do what I could do.”
But Josephine played it cool when Barry first invited her for coffee, saying “I’ll think about it”.
“Then he asked my friend for my number,” explained the soon to be 82-year-old. “But I had already put it down and folded it in squares so my friends wouldn’t see me. He took my hand… and we have been together ever since.”
“We realised that we have a lot of things in common and since then Josephine has joined my bowling club,” said the former Devon man.
“Now we are busy every day of the week and we are always together. She goes shopping, I go shopping.”
And when they do, Josephine said she has taken the opportunity to update her new fiancé’s wardrobe: “His whole dress has changed.”
As for the proposal, the couple said it was all very low key as Barry made his move at the Abbey Centre on May, 30.
Josephine, 81, said they had spoken about it but she “was taken a wee bit unawares” when the time came.
“We were down the Abbey Centre and Barry said: ‘Oh look there’s the jewellers over there’,” explained his laughing future wife.
“I said ‘so it is’ and he said ‘would you like to go over and look in the window’ and I went ‘right OK’.
“I was looking round and he said ‘do you want to look at the rings’. I says ‘are you proposing to me’ and he said ‘if you think I am getting down in the Abbey Centre on my knees’. And I say ‘look, I’ll only have to help you up anyway’.
“That was it, we went in and chose a ring. There was only two left of the one I wanted – a big one and an ‘N’. The ‘N’ fitted and we came out engaged.”
The following day the newly betrothed headed off on a cruise around the British Isles and to Normandy for D-Day commemorations.
“Everybody has been so pleased for us – especially older people. They have been delighted about it,” added Josephine.
“The families have done well – they have accepted it. My family are absolutely brilliant.
“My son and daughter are great and my five granddaughters. They said it’s our lives and we should live them out with happiness. They were all for it.”
They couple hope to tie the knot at their local church with a party afterwards in the Legion where they met – but planning a wedding on a pension is hard work and they said they are willing to accept all offers of help.
“We are in a wee bit of a daze about it,” Josephine added.
“People thought it was only an oddity of a thing – they didn’t think it would last.”
Regardless, the happy couple’s advice is “just go out and try and meet people and do things – it’s the only way.”