A MARRIED couple in Moredon have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Bob and Jean Ashton met when they were teenagers outside the McIlroy’s store in the town centre in 1954 and both worked for British Rail in Swindon.

They went on dates at the old Savoy cinema and were married at St Peter’s in Penhill in 1957.

Jean said: “It was fate that brought us together, what’s meant to be will be.

“We chose the ring together and he got down on one knee on January 8, 1956. I’ve still got all the telegrams and cards, I kept everything.”

Bob said: “We still have some of the cups and saucers we were given as wedding gifts.”

The couple will be marking their diamond anniversary with a family meal on Saturday followed by a cruise to Singapore, and they plan to travel to Alaska after that.

Jean, 80, added: “We love travelling, especially cruises, it’s such a big world and there’s so much to see, we’ve been all over the place.

“We won a trip to Mallorca once from a competition in the Adver a few years ago, it was great.”

They look back on their courtship fondly.

Jean said: “Bob never used to dance, but I loved going dancing so he learned and soon he started doing the twist all the time.”

Bob agreed: “I was pretty good, but I can’t do it any more after two knee replacements - it’s all metal there now!”

The Ashtons have four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Jean said: “The most special moments were when they were born, it’s lovely to watch them and think ‘Look at what we started’.”

Bob, 82, said: “We’ve got a brilliant family, they come and see us and help out, we’re very lucky.”

Jean has lived in Swindon all her life and used to go to Ferndale Road School. Bob moved to Swindon from Liverpool to be with her.

He said: “It wasn’t quite love at first sight but we grew on each other.

“Swindon was very different to where I used to live by the docks; when I came here there were fields and cows and sheep and it used to be so clean.”

After all this time, is there a secret to a long-lasting marriage?

Bob said: “You’ve got to learn to live with one another, you’re bound to argue when you spend so much time together but if you make a decision to get married, you should stick by it.”

His wife added: “Every time we had an argument and one of us was about to pack our bags and go, we put it behind us and made up.

“Nowadays people give up too easily after just one argument.”

Bob added: “The family keep us together too, we can’t walk away from the kids, they’re great and they keep us busy.”

Despite the occasional disagreement, the Ashtons said they are very much still enjoying married life - even 60 years on.

Bob said: “Sometimes, she’ll be sat on the sofa and I’ll come in and just give her a kiss on the forehead and go back out.”

Jean said: “Or he’ll be sat next to me and I’ll start cuddling him.”