AS children, they lived less than a mile from one another.

And yesterday (Thursday) former teenage sweethearts Betty and Walter ‘Wally’ Grabham from Hemyock celebrated 70 years of ‘very happy’ marriage.

So what is their secret? “Give and take,” said Betty, now 89, and a healthy dose of good luck.

“I was married when I was 19,” she said. “Of course, in those days you had to get your parents’ permission. Unless you were ‘signed’ you couldn’t get married until you were 21, so my father had to sign.”

The wedding was held on a bright day in 1944 in Clayhidon’s Rosemary Lane chapel.

“Not too bad a day,” said Betty. “We did have a few spots of rain but not too many.

“On that particular day people had to walk miles to get to the ceremony because they’d stopped the trains.

“People weren’t allowed to come from Exeter as it was thought the Germans were to invade us, and there wasn’t the petrol.”

They lived as husband and wife on Walter’s family farm in Clayhidon, she as a housewife, and retired to Hemyock.

They have two daughters, “both OAPs,” said Betty, and are expecting their first great-great-grand child in July.

The couple were to celebrate their platinum wedding with a slice of cake made by one of their daughters.