THE determination of Gladys and Alec Penstone to get married against the odds — even drafting in the Archbishop of Canterbury to help — should have been an early sign they were in it for the long haul.

On Wednesday (July 21) they celebrated 76 years of wedded bliss.

"We are very lucky to have lived as long as we have — and together," said Gladys, 94.

Alec, 96, is a war veteran who survived D-day, ten Arctic convoys, the London Blitz and a long posting in the Far East.

Just two days after their wedding in 1945 he was sent to Japan and didn't see his new bride for 14 months.

The couple met when Gladys's sister was courting Alec's cousin.

They wrote love letters to each other before getting engaged, and then wanted to get married while sailor Alec was briefly on leave but there wasn't enough time to read the banns and get the paperwork done.

Undeterred, they sought a special marriage licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury to allow them to marry at short notice.

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It was 17 years before they were blessed with a child, Jacqueline, and they are now proud grandparents to Katie and Ian, and great grandparents to Alice, Emily and Erik.

The couple live in Shanklin after moving to the Island in 2008.

They have a couple of meals out planned, and a trip to the theatre.

Gladys is former acrobatic dancer who loves the stage, so seeing a show is one of her favourite pastimes.

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