A COUPLE whose romance started in the unlikely surroundings of a gents' toilet have celebrated 50 years of marriage with prominent Cornish politicians and their family, which includes 14 grandchildren.
Dr Peter Cox and his wife Val Cox, who held a party at their home at Nanstallon, near Bodmin, met in the gents' loo on Brighton beach at 5.30am.
They had both taken part in the annual London to Brighton Inter Hospitals Walk in 1961.
"In those days the ladies' loos were locked at night. The only loo open was the gents so I got a guy wearing a Guys' scarf, my teaching hospital, to keep guard for me," Mrs Cox reminisced.
"He was wearing the right scarf and had a friendly face. The walk was sponsored by Guinness and I remember we went on to have a ham and egg breakfast with a pint of Guinness. We married two years later on September 7, 1963, in Bournemouth after I had qualified as a radiographer but Peter was still a student.
"We moved to Bodmin in 1966 when our oldest daughter was a baby and our son was on the way. He was born later that year.
"In 1969 I gave birth to undiagnosed twin girls. We then had four children under four years and Peter was working hard to develop the medical practice with Dr David Bruce."
They now have 14 grandchildren, the oldest of them will be 21 later this year and the youngest is 8. Their three daughters live in Cornwall and their son and his family live in Leicester so ten of the grandchildren live very close to them.
The Coxs have both been county councillors, Peter for eight years and Val served 18 years and was chair of education for six of them.
The secret of their long marriage? "Fifty years is a long time to live with the same person and we believe that to make it work takes dedication, tolerance and acceptance of each other's foibles.
"We have worked together and enjoyed the same pastimes, we have been keen sailors for over 45 years, but have also given each other space and time to do different things.
"We were very young, in our early twenties, by today's norms when we got married, but have matured together and still have the same sense of humour and view of life," said Mrs Cox.
The couple have been prominent Liberal Democrats in the North Cornwall constituency, and among their guests were Lord and Lady Tyler of Linkinhorne, Baroness Jolly and MP Dan Rogerson.