SPECIAL dispensation was granted by a bishop to allow an Oldbury couple to marry.

Barbara and Eric Smith, who were distant relatives, wondered if their union would be allowed – but it was and they have just celebrated 70 years of wedded bliss.

Mr Smith, who spent his working life as a telephone engineer, served in the RAF during the Second World War. But his colour blindness stopped him flying and he worked as a wireless engineer.

The couple, of Malvern Road, have two daughters and a son, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

They celebrated their platinum anniversary with family and were thrilled to receive cards and flowers – especially a card from the Queen.

Mrs Smith, who had numerous factory and cleaning jobs, enjoys her garden and Mr Smith has traced the family tree back to the 1720s and a relative who was beheaded on the orders of the king.

Daughter Tracey Barley said: “There’s a big age gap between me and my brother and sister and I think mum having me in her 40s has helped keep them going.”

And their secret to a long and happy marriage – be equal partners and never go to bed on an argument.