Ernest and Dolly celebrate alongside William and Kate

THEY share the same wedding day but are decades and worlds apart.

The nation will watch this morning as William and Kate tie the knot but if they do as well in marriage as Ernest and Frederica ‘Dolly’ Lockyear, then they’ll know they made the right choice.

Ernest and Dolly have known each other since 1931, but their own wedding day was on April 29 1939 when the girl from the country walked up the aisle towards her own Clark Gable at the start of a union that would last all their lives.

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They met when Ernest, Cockney born and London through and through, went for a two-week stay with the Scouts on the farm where Dolly grew up.

She was 14 and he was 15 and, though she admired his knees enough to wave goodbye at the end of the fortnight, she must have been surprised to see him pop up the next day having cycled 30 miles down from Tottenham.

Ernest said: “I used to come down every weekend to see her - her father used to call me ‘Friday’.

“We have been together ever since - nearly 80 years.

“Her father would not let us get married straight off because I was only earning 10/6 a week. Then when we did get married I was earning £3.18s.0d a week at the sewing machine company Wilcox and Gibbs.”

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Just weeks after they were finally wed Ernest went off to fight in the Second World War. He was in the Royal Engineers and took part in the battle of El Alamein as one of Monty’s famous Desert Rats. He went on to serve with the Eighth Army in Italy before coming home to Britain.

The couple made their first home in Ightham where they raised their family of three daughters.

They moved to Bexhill in 1985 because they wanted to be near the sea and close to family.

They now have five grandchildren, and four greatgrandchildren - who are Anthony, Eleanor, Jenny Sue, and Ben - with a new great-granddaughter on the way and expected early May.

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Now both in their 95th year they still live in Little Common and by anyone’s standards their’s is a great success story.

Dolly said: “We have shared everything. I honestly can say we have never ever argued about money. We have got wonderful neighbours, very caring. We never went out except with one another and the family, we were devoted to each other and the children; that was the way of life.”

Ernest added: “I felt lost when she was in hospital at Christmas time... it was terrible sitting here on my own, listening to the clock, it was so quiet. But she is a bit noisier now.”

Daughter Rita said of her parents: “They are just a wonderful mum and dad, so caring, even now at this great age they just want to know that the family is okay. They are just wonderful really.”