06:00 Tuesday 28 January 2014

Elsie a maid of honour at 100

Written bySARAH BOULD

27/01/14 100 year old to be maid of honour at wedding - Swad, SwadPensioners Mary Shingler and Harold Gough are getting married next month and 100 yr old Elsie Payne will be their maid of honour..... 27/01/14 100 year old to be maid of honour at wedding - Swad, SwadPensioners Mary Shingler and Harold Gough are getting married next month and 100 yr old Elsie Payne will be their maid of honour.....

A 100-YEAR-OLD who played match-maker for her two friends will be the maid of honour at their wedding next month.

Pensioners Mary Shingler, 80, and Harold Gough, 79, will exchange vows the day after Valentine’s Day, when they will share their special day with centenarian Elsie Payne.

The three are all residents at Oaklands Village Care Home in Swadlincote where Mary and Harold first met three months ago. He popped the question after a month.

The couple immediately asked Elsie to take on the vital role at their wedding which will be held at Swadlincote Register Office on February 15, followed by a reception at the town hall.

Elsie turned 100 last July and put her long life down to never having drunk alcohol, smoked or gone out with strange men. She said: “It’s marvellous really. I think there is someone else older than me that has been a maid of honour, but I am looking forward to it; I have only ever been a bridesmaid before.

“They have chosen me a lovely turquoise outfit – they have been golden to me.

“I hope they are going to be very happy. I got them together – Harold was so lonely, I used to see him sitting in his chair. They are good to me and are very nice people.”

The wedding will mark Mary’s third marriage, and Harold’s first.

Mary, who used to work at the town’s civic offices, told the Mail: “Three months ago I moved into my apartment. It was love at first sight were Harold was concerned.

“Elsie always says it was her that first got us together. Harold always looked so lonely so she introduced me to him and we have both never been so happy.”

Harold, who is originally from Church Gresley, and worked at William Allitt School for 20 years, said: “Mary had too much to drink when I first escorted her back to her flat. We fell in love anddecided to get married after a month.

“I am really looking forward to it.”

The couple had originally wanted to get married on Valentine’s Day but Mary’s son could not make that day.

Mary said: “I am well known at the civic offices in Swadlincote and the mayor will be coming to the wedding. I am still on the committee but had a massive stroke five years ago. I have known Elsie for three months and I am very pleased we asked her.”

The couple are planning a cruise from Gibraltar for their honeymoon.

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