Local family married for 208 YEARS!

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WHAT’S the secret to a long and happy marriage?

One local family seemed to have cracked the recipe for marital bliss and can boast four of its members - three sisiters and a brother - being married for a combined 208 YEARS!

Isobel Phillips (nee McCandless) and her husband Vernon, joined family and friends last month at the Lodge Hotel to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary.

It was at that happy occasion that Isobel - who has lived in Ballymoney for the past 12 years - realised the McCandless’s are a unique family when it comes to lasting marriages.

Isobel says: “My sister Jean had the bright idea to take a photograph of me and her with our brother Ronnie - all three of us have been married for a long time.”

Isobel said she “couldn’t wait to take her vows” and step down the aisle with her hubby Vernon at St Patrick’s Church in Coleraine on August 11, 1973 when they were married by Canon Benson.

Her sister, Jean White, has been married to husband Bobby from Eastermeade Gardens, Ballymoney, for 54 years while brother Ronnie and wife May celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary - 60 years - last month.

Isobel added: “We also have a sister, Rosemary Simms, who lives in Melbourne in Australia and she has been married to her husband Alan for 54 years.

“Jean and Rosemary were married in the same year.

“I definitely think it’s something very unique.”

Isobel came from a family of six who grew up in Ferryquay Street in Coleraine.

Her parents were Leslie and Mary McCandless and they had two other children, Roger and Leslie McCandless jnr, who have since passed away.

It’s hardly a coincidence that Isobel’s parents themselves were married for 53 years!

Naturally Isobel is very proud of her family’s marriages but even she can’t pinpoint what makes a happy and long-lasting union.

“I don’t know what the special ingredient is,” she said.

“But for us all to be alive and together over all these years is very special.

“The longevity comes from my daddy’s side of the family.

“We think it’s an unbelievable achievement.

“For me I think if you really care about the person you’ll make it through.”

The Ballymoney and Moyle Times thinks this record of marital bliss MUST be a record-breaker...unless, of course, you know different!

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