A FORMER railway worker and former photographer have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Rishton couple Betty, 81, and Malcolm Sheard, 82, met in 1953, Malcolm was working as a clerk at Cherry Tree station and Betty was working as photographer for a company in Mill Hill.

Malcolm said it was 'love at first sight' after they met on a blind date at a fish and chip shop in Cherry Tree.

He said: "It was a blind date that was set up by a friend of mine at work.

"I arrived to the date with a sprained ankle after I dropped a kettle on my foot while I was making a cup of tea at work. Despite my injury it was like love at first sight."

The couple found they had similar interests, namely their love for movies, and spent a lot of time with each other throughout the year. Three years the later the couple got engaged while Malcolm was doing his national service for two years in Wiltshire.

Malcolm and Betty got married at St Charles RC Church, Rishton, on September 6, 1958. The marriage took place on the same day as Betty's 21st birthday.

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Betty said: "I thought it would be nice to have it on my birthday but my mum did not want me to get married on the same day and wanted to keep it separate. I quite like it though. It's sort of a double celebration."

They moved into a house in Mill Hill in 1960 before moving to Rishton, a town they would live in for more than 50 years.

One of their favourite pastimes in later life, after they moved to their Parker Street house in 1985, was to visit places abroad particularly in Europe. They have flown to Ibiza more than 20 times in the last 30 years and have also visited Benidorm and Mallorca.

Betty, who enjoyed dancing when she was younger, said: "Ibiza is so peaceful and pretty and it was a nice relaxing setting."

The couple celebrated their anniversary by having a meal with 21 family members at the Old Mother Redcap, Knuzden, last Saturday and visited Rishton Free Gardeners Club to continue the celebrations.

Malcolm said: "It was the first time in 60 years the family had all got together, so it was a special moment.

"You have got to find the right person. You also need to give and take and be helpful to each other and ideally like the same things. That's the best advice I can give."

The grandmother-of-five said: "We have been well together for 60 years and having no arguments is the reason for our success."