Proud Paul Pollard and boyfriend Ted Spring have celebrated their 50th anniversary together – and Britain’s longest gay relationship.
Dedicated Paul, 72, met Ted, 73, in a club half a century ago and the devoted couple say it was ”love at first sight”.
Paul was a 22-year-old chef at the time and Ted was then an Able Seaman on shore leave from HMS Vigilant.
The two met in 1960 at the The Lockyer Hotel, which for many years was one of only two gay bars in Plymouth, Devon.
Ted had to go back to sea for over a year but they remained faithful to each other and when he returned they moved into a bedsit.
The couple, of Plymouth, later ran restaurants, clubs and guest houses and are now both retired.
On September 17 friends and family helped them celebrate 50 years together – thought to be Britain’s longest male gay relationship.
But despite being open about their sexuality for 50 years Paul and Ted say they have not experienced any negativity.
Paul, 72, said: “We are still very much in love as we were 50 years ago.
“It was very difficult back in the 60s financially really because we wanted to buy a house but couldn’t get a mortgage as they wouldn’t consider our wages jointly as we were not married.
”We did have a hard time with things like that but not on the streets. We used to keep to gay bars. We were always working, always busy.”
Ted added: “We have not had any trouble at all in the time we have been together but I think acceptance of gay relationships is less tolerant today than it was years ago.”
Ted left the Navy in 1962 and got a job in Paul’s restaurant and in the mid 60s they owned and ran a guesthouse for actors – with guests including Michael Barrymore.
They later opened a country club but in 1986 left to run a guest house after Paul jumped off a piano and snapped his Achilles tendon.
Paul said the only time he has been the butt of jokes about his sexuality was during his time in the RAF.
He said: ”Other servicemen thought I was from another planet. They would say ‘here comes the fairy’ but not in a horrible way and I always had an answer to their comments.”
They are now retired and Paul likes horse racing and Ted enjoys watching old films starring Betty Davis.