A COUPLE are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today.

The landmark for Jim France, 76, and Marlene France, 77, from Great Harwood, comes one day after Jim’s birthday.

The couple met in on a Sunday night in 1969 in Blackburn’s Starlight Club in Little Harwood.

They were then in a relationship for two years before tying the knot in St John’s church in St Hubert’s Road, before it was demolished in 2009.

Jim said: “It’s been great. We have both got on very well and we haven’t had any problems at all. We can’t believe it’s 50 years actually.

“We have had a good lifestyle - we used to go on a lot of holidays and went out for meals. We have enjoyed ourselves.”

Ever since their wedding, the couple have visited the Spread Eagle at Mellor for a meal on their anniversary.

Unfortunately, because of the lockdown they were not able to do this last year and are still unable to visit this year due to restrictions.

Jim started his career as an apprentice joiner before he went on to work at the original Thwaites brewery.

He worked in some other companies before ending his career at Blackburn with Darwen council working in the town hall as a property maintenance officer.

Marlene worked at BT as a telephonist dealing with the public. When she was 29 and the couple had been married for two years, Marlene gave birth to their only son, Richard France.

The couple lost Richard on May 13, 2006, then 33, to cancer, which was already at stage four when it was diagnosed.

During their son’s life, Richard got his pilot licence, bought his own home and a Porsche which were his three biggest dreams.

Four years ago Marlene was diagnosed with breast cancer but after some surgery, she is now on medication and the cancer is under control.

The couple have shared some of their tips for a healthy and happy marriage.

Jim said: “Don’t argue! Enjoy yourself. Have as many holidays as you can.”