A COUPLE celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary have swapped a cruise in Portugal for a dinner in their hometown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pauline Mary Gillett and John Joseph Gillett married on July 30, 1960, in Blackburn and have had a happy marriage.

The couple plan to dine out for the occasion, as they are both well enough, but their original plans were more luxurious with a cruise off Portugal for three days.

Mrs Gillett, 80, said: “I do not feel like it has been 60 years, but time flies.

“We are going out for lunch but we should have been going on a cruise but we have left it till next year now.

“We also had a new home in Portugal, but we have not visited it since and we have to wait, It’s a bit disappointing.”

During the lockdown, the couple were in self-isolation for a few weeks, with daughter Jane Roscoe and son Andrew Gillett helping them where necessary.

After a Christmas proposal, they married and have lived in Wilpshire, Blackburn, before moving to their bungalow in Langho.

Mrs Gillett said: “We had a nice small wedding, nothing fancy because back then people didn’t have much money, and after we got back from our honeymoon from the Lake District we were broke.”

They met through a mutual friend when Mrs Gillett was working as a Saturday stall girl at Blackburn market.

Mrs Gillett said: “I saw him and thought he was all right, so I told my friend and she came to the stall and asked if I wanted to go on a date with him.

“So, we went to a dance in Brockholes and I knew that day he was the one, he was just so different from anyone else I had seen. We just got on so well," she added.

"He was planning on going into the Royal Navy and I could not stand it, so we had a talk and he decided not to go.

"Now, when we have an argument, I say I wish he had gone and he says he wished he did go."

Mrs Gillett says the secret to a long and happy marriage is being able to spend time away from each other.

She said: “You have to be your own person as well as a wife and a mother.

“I go on holidays with my friends and have a good relationship with them, I just make sure I have me time.”

The couple even worked together, with Mr Gillett, now 82, as a production manager at BAE Systems and Mrs Gillett working in the office.

Before that, she owned her own café in Mellor.

Mrs Gillett is looking forward to dinner with her husband, especially as she loves to dress up and wear make-up.