Britain’s oldest couple, Phyllis and Ralph Tarrant, are both over 100, have been married 77 years and still live happily and independently together in their own flat. How did they do that?

His wife has put the secret of their long-lasting marriage and relationship down to ‘getting on with each other, a good diet, exercise, avoiding cigarettes – and a tot of whisky each night’.

But they admit to the occasional tiff – usually down to Mrs Tarrant not being able to decide what she wants her husband to cook for tea, or one of them putting the television on too loud.

‘Having little rows is good for a relationship,’ Mrs Tarrant said recently. ‘It keeps it healthy.’

The Tarrants married in 1933 when times were financially tough, no doubt, and they lived through two world wars (Mr Tarrant served in the RAF during World War II), but it was also a time when marrying and bringing up a family were not the complicated business they so often are today. They have two daughters, seven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Mr Tarrant retired in 1968 and the couple spent the first part of their long retirement holidaying around the world, visiting America eight times.

They still have their own flat in Broomhill, Sheffield, and are determined to keep active, going out and about regularly, while Mrs Tarrant attends services at her local church every Sunday.

‘We get out when we can, going to lunch clubs and shopping most weeks,’ said Mr Tarrant. ‘We are still very independent and enjoy life.’

Let’s hope their descendants do as well in health and happiness, if not in age.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet