TWO childhood friends who became besotted with one another after an unexpected reunion celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Maureen and Douglas Martin from Rodbourne first met when they were teenagers, then went their separate ways before bumping into each other on the dance-floor over a decade later.

Douglas said: “My wife was in the St John’s Ambulance and was on duty at the Regent Cinema during the Saturday morning pictures, which is how we met.

“We were good friends, though we didn’t see each other for many years after I went to study carpentry and mechanical engineering, then went into the army while she went to work in the railways.”

Maureen said: “We met again entirely by chance at the Playhouse dance hall – though he couldn’t dance!”

Douglas added: “It blossomed from there, we went dancing quite often, courted for 18 months and got married at St Augustine’s Church.”

Maureen added: “It was a really lovely day.”

The 86-year-olds have lived in the same house in Upper Stratton ever since they married.

They’ve raised two children and three grandchildren.

To celebrate their 60 years of marriage, they went for a long weekend with their family to Torquay, which holds a special place in their hearts.

Maureen added: “We went there for our honeymoon and visited on and off for 17 years when the children were young. We like it very much.

“Bringing up the children and watching the grandchildren grow up has been wonderful."

Douglas added: "Both our children have played football at the County Ground, though not professionally, and we went to seem them play many a time.

"When you realise that your children are going to retire soon, it makes you realise they've had a full life, we've been very fortunate."

Maureen agreed: "We've been very lucky with our health and our family.

"We both took part-time jobs after our retirement to keep us social and keep us occupied.

"We've had a good life."

After so many years together, Douglas and Maureen have a few pearls of wisdom to offer young couples.

Douglas said: "Marriage is all about give and take."

Maureen said: "Divorce seems to come too easy to a lot of couples.

"We have the occasional argument but it's nothing to worry about.

"You just have to stick with it."