THE daughter of a couple who will soon celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary says genes and commitment are to thank for their long lives and marriage.

Helen and James Nelson, of Braintree, are both 93 years old and will reach their platinum anniversary next month.

Daughter Vanessa Gollop said: “I think their long life can be put down to being lucky with having good genes, and their marriage down to commitment because they’ve always stuck by one another.

“My father also took early severance pay so I think not having that pressure of having to work has probably helped.

“But I’m very lucky to have them as parents and very lucky that they’re still in reasonably good health.”

The Greenway Gardens couple have three children together – Vanessa, Paul and Mark – as well as 11 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, with another due soon, and a great great-grandson.

They married in 1949 at St Cedd’s Church, in Plaistow, two years after Mr Nelson returned from serving with the Royal Navy.

As part of his active service during the Second World War he took part in the D-Day landings and in 2016 he awarded was the Legion of Honour – France’s highest military award – for his part in the assault.

After leaving the Navy, he became a clerk at London’s Docklands and the couple later had their three children.

Mrs Nelson worked as a secretary for the Admiralty before going on to work for British Rail.

Braintree and Witham Times: Helen and James Nelson appeared in the Times on July 1, 2009, for their 60th wedding anniversaryHelen and James Nelson appeared in the Times on July 1, 2009, for their 60th wedding anniversary

The couple, who met at a wedding reception, spoke to the Times in 2009 as they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Mr Nelson said: “I remember seeing this girl sitting on the stairs and thought ‘She has got a nice pair of legs!’ – and it went from there.”

Mrs Nelson said she first noticed her future husband’s tan from being abroad and recalled he was the tallest man in the room.