When it comes to the secret of a long and happy marriage, four couples who share 200 years of wedded bliss between them might have the answer, writes Katie Ottman.

Ann and Michael Belson from Gants Hill, Natalie and Richard Rubin from Leigh on Sea,  Adele and Michael Trainis from Barkingside and Sandra and Brian Angel from Ilford are all celebrating their golden wedding anniversaries this year.

The Redbridge United Synagogue members marked the occasion in a special blessing ceremony led by Reverend Gary Newman last Thursday.

While the Angels married at St John’s Wood Synagogue on 10 September 1967 before moving to Essex, the other three couples marked their special days at Hackney and East London Synagogue and have known each other since childhood.

Mrs Trainis, 71, first met her husband aged just five – at the very same synagogue where they would later marry, on 24 September 1967.

Her secret: “The best advice I can give is to let each other live your own life – that’s what makes your marriage stronger.”

For Mrs Rubin, who met husband Richard at age 19, the key to a good marriage is “all about give and take”. The couple married on 25 June 1967 and have three children and seven grandchildren.

The Belsons, who have two children and five grandchildren, agree that happiness lies in “having a good balance between us, doing things together, but separately as well”.

Mr Belson, 74, who first met wife Ann at the dance hall at the Empire Leicester Square while they were still teenagers before marrying on 28 May 1967, said: “The secret is very simple actually … Ann does her own thing and so do I, so there’s no feeling of guilt if one goes out without the other.”

On the joint 50 years of marriage, he added: “We’ve got a good group of friends. We’ve been to each other’s engagements, weddings, seen their kids get married and their grandchildren come along. We’re all so close together. It’s a very special thing.”