A couple who had to overcome opposing faiths and nationalities celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary.

Joyce and Jan Wolowicz, who live in Harrow Weald, married on 7 February 1948 in Golders Green, having met while working for the British Army of the Rhine.

Jan was a soldier in the Polish Army who had been displaced from his home in Kaunas during the Second World War.

Having refused to serve both Germany and the Soviet Union, he came to the UK following the conflict and settled with Joyce in spite of his limited English skills.

“This was very unusual at the time,” explained their daughter Geraldine Furness.

“Nowadays you don’t think anything of it they had to face the fact that my father was Lithuanian and that they were also of different faiths – he was Catholic and my mother was Jewish.

“They’ve had a lot of challenges in their lives, both with each other and the day-to-day. That’s what makes this feat even more impressive.”

Joyce, 89, said their ability to face up to these challenges and work as a team has contributed to their successful marriage.

“It wasn’t easy. He hardly spoke a word of English but that didn’t matter, we made it work,” she said.

“Nobody’s perfect and you have to realise that you are going to disagree on some things. But you have to remember not to sulk because it won’t work like that. You have to face up to things and talk about them.

“It’s about respect – respect for each other and respect for each other’s opinions. I don’t think there are many people out there who had as many differences as us but we’ve managed.

“It’s about working together. You try to back each other up and try not to pull in opposite directions. If you pull together, you can go anywhere. And don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself every now and then.”

As well as the language and cultural barriers, the pair had to face financial battles as the country bounced back from the war.

Joyce, who was born in Salford, noted that there were “no luxuries like today” and she recalled how most things were bought with coupons while laundry was done on a washboard.

“I think we were a generation of better cooks because we always had to make something out of nothing,” she added.

On top of this, she and Jan, 94, had the stress of trying to locate his family in Lithuania, which was under Soviet occupation for much of their lives.

After working with the Red Cross, they managed to track them down in Kaunas and, as part of a tourist trip, they were temporarily reunited.

It is these sort of joint campaigns which, according to Joyce, are one of the secrets to their marital success and their hard work has clearly had an impact on the rest of the family.

Geraldine has been married for 44 years while their other daughter, Stephanie, has been with her husband for 48 years.

A celebration for the platinum anniversary was postponed after Joyce was convalescing in hospital following an ankle infection.

There she could read a “lovely card” from the Queen, who wrote to recognise their remarkable achievement.