A Dorset couple who adopted the song ‘A Tree in the Meadow’ as their theme tune received a wood hand-carving as a 65th wedding anniversary present.

Staff at Colten Care’s Avon Reach home in Mudeford commissioned the carving after discovering the line ‘And carved upon that tree I see “I love you till I die”‘ in the lyrics of the song, a number one hit for Margaret Whiting in 1948.

Ruth Wildman, Avon Reach’s Home Manager, presented the inscribed tree ring to residents Bill Elvy, 94, and his wife, Betty, 86, together with flowers and a celebration cake.

“I just can’t believe it. This is absolutely fantastic,” Betty said, adding: “It is a wonderful present and very kind.”

The couple, who have two sons and four grandchildren, met at the Queen Elizabeth Training College for the Disabled in Leatherhead, Surrey. Bill was initially a trainee and then an instructor and Betty was a secretary.

They married in 1948 and adopted the song ‘A Tree in the Meadow’ after passing a particularly distinctive tree on their regular visits to Bognor Regis in West Sussex.

The wood carving commissioned by Colten Care featured an arrow through a heart with Bill and Betty’s initials, BE.

Bill said, “We’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve been very happy. As I often say to Betty: I don’t know why I love you but I do.”

Betty added, “We argue like mad but always end up agreeing to disagree. That’s our secret of being together all these years.”

Home Manager Ruth Wildman said, “Bill and Betty are a lovely couple and very popular with staff and fellow residents.

“They were very touched to receive the wood carving. It’s a lovely romantic story.”

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