‘Why we are truly happy 50 years on’

‘Why we are truly happy 50 years on’

Brian and Olwen Handley who have been married for 50 years

Brian and Olwen Handley on their wedding day

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , education reporter

THE Bolton News and the University of Bolton are carrying out a social experiment to find out what makes people happy.
The first survey of this kind in the UK was carried out in the borough in 1938 as part of the groundbreaking Mass Observation Project. Now, more than 75 years, the people of Bolton are once again being asked what makes them happy. The Bolton News is running a week-long series of features on the theme of happiness.
Today, we look at love and marriage.

SO important is love to happiness that there is a day devoted to celebrating it..

Today, to mark Valentine’s Day, we feature a couple who have been married for more than 50 years and they tell us why their relationship makes them happy.

Brian and Olwen Handley still hold hands to show their love for each other and are rarely seen without each other.

Mrs Handley, aged 69, said: “If either of us are out, people always ask where the other one is!”

Mr Handley, aged 76, added: “We still do everything together and hold hands when we are out.”

The golden wedding celebration in December was a celebration of their love and commitment, with the couple asking for donations to Bolton Hospice rather than presents — and more than £1,000 was raised.

The couple met, through Olwen’s father, and started going out together. The court-ship was temporarily broken off because of Mrs Handley’s age — she was in her late teens and he was his 20s which she thought was too old!

But after missing him, she engineered it so the two could meet up again, and: “We have been together ever since,” said Mrs Handley.

After a year they were married at St Columba’s Church in Tonge Moor, Bolton, in 1963. She was 19 and Mr Handley 25.

They still go to church and the couple, who live in Breightmet, have two children Darren, aged 46 and Donna Entwistle, aged 49.

They say they worked hard and saved to build a life together, but material things do not compare to the relationship they have built.

Mrs Handley said: “We don’t need anything which is why we asked for donations on our golden wedding and we did the same for Brian’s birthday.”

Her husband added: “Without Olwen, I would feel as if I was missing an arm or a leg.

“Relationships are more important than money and they do keep you happy.

“You look out for each other. You have to pull together,” said Mrs Handley, “You have to work at it.

“I feel lucky because people do split up these days, but you have to take the rough with the smooth.”

Mr Handley said: “It is not about having everything, at Christmas we remember those who are absent.” He added: “You need the feeling of togetherness.”

What makes you happy? Take our quick survey here.

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