FOR two weeks each year Dennis and Bettina Whiting from Hampshire are the same age.

And this is why the pair chose August 14 as their wedding date.

Seventy years on, the union is as strong as ever, with the couple from Fordingbridge citing “laughter, friendship and admitting their wrongs” as the reasons for their long and happy marriage.

It was just eight months after the couple tied the knot in Aldershot, when Mr Whiting was in a horrific petroleum gas explosion at the Esso refinery, where he worked as a research technician.

The accident left him hospitalised for almost a year. But after months of treatment, Dennis came back fighting fit.

The couple went on to have Judith Kate in 1956 and Ian Charles two years later.

Throughout their married life Mrs Whiting, a trained chef, worked as a dinner lady in many schools while Mr Whiting stayed with Esso for 41 years.

The couple retired in 1987 to Sandy Balls in Fordingbridge after falling in love with the Forest during a holiday.

The pair threw themselves into community life, becoming members of the Fordingbridge and Ringwood Footpath Society and the Friendship Club.

Last year they moved to Kings Court in the town.

Mr and Mrs Whiting will be celebrating with family over lunch while the residents at Kings Court will join the couple for a tea party on the day.