THREE sisters from Winchester have defied the odds and celebrated their golden weddings — all within four years of one another.

June Hopes, Ann Driscoll, and Gwen Ivory, all born in Winchester, waited until they all reached the 50-year mark to have a proper knees-up.

Mrs Hopes, 76, who was the only one of the three to be born at the Blackman family home at Bar End Road, celebrated with her sisters Ann, 72, and the youngest Gwen, 71, who were born at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, at the Otter pub in Otterbourne, last Wednesday.

Mrs Hopes, who now lives with her husband, Terence, 76, in Paulet Place, Stanmore, was the eldest to marry at the age of 25 on September 28, 1963, at what was St Martin’s Church in Winnall.

A former barmaid at the Royal Winchester Golf Club, Mrs Hopes met Terry when he was living in Sutton Scotney, who worked for many years as the caretaker at Winchester Cathedral.

Mrs Ivory, who lives at Littleton Mobile Home Park with her husband Robin, 74, was just two days shy of her 21st birthday when they married on June 6, 1964, at St John’s Church in Winchester. The couple have two daughters, Lesley and Carol.

The couple also have two grandchildren and met at the now-closed open-air swimming baths on Bull Drove when they were teenagers.

She said the secret to her marriage was the support she and her husband gave each other.

“We were friends for some time, but we suddenly just got together, I suppose we got older and became more serious,” she said.

“I don’t think anyone else would put up with me! We’re just there for one another really. I’ve been through a few illnesses and he’s always supported me. Obviously you have your ups and downs, but you work things out eventually.”

Mrs Driscoll was the youngest to marry tying the knot aged 18 with her husband Bill on October 15, 1960, at Winchester’s Registry Office. The couple, who have three sons, live at Radstock Road, Southampton.

Mrs Hopes said: “It’s not often that you see three sisters in one family all celebrating their golden wedding anniversaries.

“Most people get divorced nowadays but the three of us have lasted so long. My parents were married for 49 years but they didn’t quite make it.”

Their parents were on holiday in Cornwall when her father passed away months before their anniversary. But Mrs Hopes said she learned a lot from them, saying the key to a happy marriage is compromise.

“It’s about give and take,” she said. “We never seem to argue, what’s the point? It doesn’t get you anywhere.

“We have wonderful holidays and just enjoy ourselves though my husband can’t quite believe he’s put up with me for this long!

“As soon as something goes wrong don’t just split up. You can’t just give up on something.

“You’ve got to be able to give and take a little, that’s what marriage is about. It’s not about what’s mine is mine, it’s about what’s ours is ours, and I think people should think about that a bit more.”