WHEN diamond wedding anniversary couple Alan and Margaret Aspin first married, they were forced to spend almost two years apart.

With Mr Aspin overseas on national service, they made sure they wrote to each other every day before being reunited and have just celebrated 60 years of marriage.

It was a bright and breezy spring day when the pair tied the knot on Easter Saturday, April 17, 1954, at St Thomas' Church, Halliwell.

But the couple were soon forced apart when Mr Aspin began his compulsory military service, posted to the Suez Canal.

As soon as the 81-year-old returned, they set up home in Smithills where they have lived ever since. Mr Aspin said: “It’s been a happy and loving 60 years.

“Everything we have tried to do has turned out successful.

“We have supported each other along the way and been truthful to each other.”

It was a chance meeting while Mrs Aspin was baby-sitting for her future husband’s next door neighbours in Moorside Avenue, Smithills, that the pair first met.

Mr Aspin said: “One night the garage door was blowing backwards and forwards and I went round to tell them it was going to come off its hinges.

“Margaret answered and it went from there.”

The pair, aged 20 and 21 at the time of their wedding, celebrated with friends and family on Saturday following their anniversary on Thursday.

Remembering their wedding day, Mr Aspin said: “It was a nice day with a cool breeze but sunshine.

“Shortly afterwards, I had to do National Service.

“For 18 months, I was overseas. We were separated after we got married.

“We wrote to each other every day. For more than two years, we never missed a day.

“I was back again in 1955 and we started our married life together and we’ve been happy ever since.”

Mrs Aspin, aged 80, worked in bookbinding, including the quality control department before she retired while Mr Aspin worked in textiles, as a factory manager and in health and safety.

The pair welcomed their son Philip into the world in 1961 who, along with his wife Deborah, hosted the celebration for the happy couple.