Couple Karam and Kartari Chand married for 86 years

By Sanjiv Buttoo
BBC Asian Network

image captionBeing married 86 years is a 'blessing' says Mrs Chand

A couple from Bradford who tied the knot in 1925 could be the UK's longest married husband and wife.

Karam Chand was born in a small rural village in the Punjab in northern India in 1905.

His family worked in farming and, in keeping with the custom of the time, he married at a young age.

His bride Kartari was born in the same district in 1912. According to their passports, that currently makes Mr Chand 106 and his wife 99 years old.

They wed in a typical Sikh ceremony in December 1925 and have just celebrated their 86th year together as a married couple, which they think may qualify them as the UK's longest married husband and wife.

'Enjoy life'

Mr Chand, who came with his family to Bradford in 1965, said there was no real secret to living a long married life.

"Eat and drink what you want but in moderation. I have never held back from enjoying my life," he said.

Mr Chand smokes one cigarette a day before his evening meal and also drinks a tot of whiskey or brandy three or four times a week.

His daughter-in-law Rani said it was something he looked forward to.

The couple have eight children, 27 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. Many Asian people in the UK live within traditional extended families and the Chands are no exception.

They live with their youngest son Satpal, together with his wife and two of their four children.

"We really feel blessed that our parents are still here with us and every day is a bonus," Satpal said.

"I think that keeping the minds of older people active is the key to them staying alert and healthy.

"If you have been given the privilege to look after your parents you must involve them fully in family life and never get angry with them, keep them happy and they will then look forward to getting up the next morning."

Kartari Chand is looking forward to getting a letter from The Queen later this year when she celebrates her 100th birthday, but is more cautious about staying fit and healthy.

"We have always eaten good wholesome food, there's nothing artificial in our diet but things like ghee (clarified butter), milk and fresh yogurt are what we like.

"We know that being married for 86 years is a blessing, but equally we will be ready to go when it's time, it's all up to the will of God, but we really have lived a good life."

image captionOfficial letters congratulating Mr Chand on his 100th birthday

Mrs Chand said that she and her husband enjoyed doing many things, such as eating meals together and going to the temple.

However, she said some aspects of old age were difficult.

"My eldest son died and that was hard for us because you don't expect to outlive your own children.

"We have seen many other close family members depart and that's something we just have to live with."

Mr Chand is now unable to walk any distance without assistance and needs a lot more care than his wife, who remains active and still has her own teeth.

She said: "When you get so old your eyesight and hearing starts to get weaker and you ache more when moving about.

"But considering our age and the hard work we have undertaken during our lives, we're not doing so bad."

Satpal Chand said he was not sure if his parents were the longest married couple in the UK, but would like to think that they are.

"Breaking records is not so important to us, it's all about living together as one family and respecting each other's values.

"if my mother and father are record breakers then they've made us even more proud of them than we already are."

"They're such lovely people."

You can hear more on Asian Network Reports on the BBC Asian Network.

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