A CHANCE meeting over a string of pearls has led to more than 70 years of happy marriage for Evelyn and Alf Cadwallader from Wirral.

Evelyn was aged 18 and Alf 19 when they met in 1948. They married, three years later, at the Methodist church in Bebington on November 24, 1951.

They celebrate 72 years wed today (Friday, November 24) and are still as happy as ever.

Evelyn, who is now 93, told the Globe that married life had been “absolutely brilliant”, adding “we’ve had our ups and downs, but we have a lovely family and great neighbours.”

Alf, now 94, added: "It’s all about give and take - here’s to the next one."

Alf was in the Air Force and Merchant Navy. In civilian life he worked for Vauxhall Motors.

On the night they met, Evelyn was going to buy some sweets and Alf was walking in the opposite direction.

Wirral Globe: Recalling the events leading up to their meeting, Evelyn said: “There was a string of pearls on the road; I went to pick them up and Alf did.

“He asked, ‘Are they yours?’ I said ‘no’ and we chatted for a few minutes.

“We decided to take them into the shop and leave them there in case their rightful owner turned up.”

After the chance meeting, Alf asked Evelyn for her address and then went off to sea.

Wirral Globe: Alf and Evelyn Cadwallader from Thingwall are celebrating 72 'brilliant' years of marriageAlf and Evelyn Cadwallader from Thingwall are celebrating 72 'brilliant' years of marriage (Image: Craig Manning)Six weeks later, he called at Evelyn’s family home to ask if anyone had claimed the string of pearls.

He also asked Evelyn if she would like to go to the pictures. She accepted his offer of a trip out to the Palace Picturehouse in Rock Ferry and the rest is history!

The couple - who live in Thingwall - have three sons - Robert, Roy and Brian - daughters-in-law Sandra, Jane and Gail; eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

During their first trip away together, the couple - keen cyclists - travelled all over the country on Alf’s treasured tandem bike.

Wirral Globe:  Alf and Evelyn Cadwallader during one of their cycling trips Alf and Evelyn Cadwallader during one of their cycling trips (Image: courtesy of Evelyn Cadwallader)Explaining how the couple's love of the great outdoors Evelyn recalled: "We had both been evacuees during World War Two, sent to different parts of Wales.

"We loved the countryside as a result of that experience and had to spend our weekends getting out-and-about.

"We joined the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) but we had to solve the problem of transport.

"The answer came with a tandem that Alf had managed to find. I had no idea of what riding a tandem involved, couldn't even ride a bike.

"We spent many hours close to home practising until we were good enough to go for longer distances. We had many laughs along the way.

"This became the way we spent our leisure time for three years before we were married."

Wirral Globe: Alf Cadwallader with some of his paintings Alf Cadwallader with some of his paintings (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest)After the birth of first son Robert, Evelyn and Alf, who is also a keen painter, gave up the tandem for a motorbike and sidecar.

Evelyn was luncheon club developer for Age Concern Wirral (now Age UK Wirral), opening more than 20 luncheon clubs and retiring from service at the age of 86.

Evelyn reflected: “We’ve had a wonderful life, we really have.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, as many people have throughout their lives, but we have managed to get through them all.

“We have met some wonderful people in our lifetime, but have also lost so many people, both family and friends who have been very special to us.

“We have a sense of contentment at this stage of our lives and a wealth of memories to look back on.”

From all at Wirral Globe, a very happy anniversary Evelyn and Alf!