Funeral of Cradley Heath couple married for 70 years who died days apart

They devoted more than 70 years of their lives together and tragically died just a week apart.

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Mary and Bert Barnsley

But now Bert and Mary Barnsley have been laid to rest by each other's side.

Hundreds of family and friends attended the funeral of the couple, which took place in the church where they were married during the Second World War.

When the couple tied the knot on Christmas Day, 1943, the vicar refused to ring the wedding bells because at that time they were used to alert residents to Nazi bombing raids.

But in a heart-warming tribute to the pair - who both died of heart attacks earlier this month at the age of 93 - the wedding bells were rung as the coffins arrived by horse-drawn cart at Holy Trinity Church, in Cradley Heath.

Before the ceremony, Bert’s cousin Margaret Martin, 76, said: "This is a day of celebration really. You don't get couples like them anymore.

"They were all about family. It’s so lovely to think that they are now together forever."

Bert, a retired engineer who built the casings for the bouncing bombs made famous by the Dambuster’s Raid during the Second World War, died at 9am on March 18.

Just 30 minutes after his death Mary suffered a heart attack and was rushed to hospital but she passed away at 9am on March 25.

The couple, who had no children, lived in the same house in Codsall Road all their married lives and were close to their cousins and their families.

Their niece Elaine Arnold, 65, a retired care assistant, said: "They were a very close family and it was like open house at their home. Everyone gravitated around them.

"Their death is like losing your parents all over again."