THE year Bill and Lill Monk married, Adolf Hitler announced he was rearming German, Elvis Presley was born and American pilot Amelia Earhart was creating aviation history.

Now the devoted couple have celebrated a remarkable 75 years together.

But friends and family who joined Mr and Mrs Monk for a party at their home in Hawkesbury Avenue, Canvey, yesterday were stumped as to what to get for a gift.

Neighbour Val Bancroft, 55, who organised the party, said: “It is gold for a fiftieth, diamond for a sixtieth and platinum for a seventieth, but we couldn’t find out what it was supposed to be for 75 years.”

The couple, who have proudly displayed telegrams from the Queen marking their sixtieth and seventieth anniversaries on the living room wall, did not get a letter from Her Majesty this time round.

Bill said: “I don’t think they expect you to live that long to be married 75 years!

“The secret is a bit of give and take. We have shared all we have all our lives.”

Bill, 99, and Lill, 96, tied the not on September 21, 1935, at a church in Edmonton, north London.

The couple met working at the Co-op dairy in nearby Palmers Green.

Six months after they married they moved to Enfield where they bought their first house for £380.

Bill spent all six years of the war in the Army, serving in France and Germany.

He went on to become a secretary for the National Union of Public Employees and the couple moved to Canvey in 1978.

Bill’s sister Margaret Fickling, who was a bridesmaid at their wedding and moved to Canvey a couple of years later was at the party to celebrate.

Margaret, 91, of Labworth Road, Canvey, said: “It doesn’t seem possible they have been married all this time. I was just 15 at the time and it was a lovely wedding.”

Mr and Mrs Monk have a son Colin, 67, and grand-daughters Caroline, 42, and Tania, 43, who all live in Yorkshire. Val, who has become close to the couple over the years, said: “It is an amazing achievement.”