A DIAMOND couple who met at an RAF base are still flying high 60 years on.
Hartlepool husband-and-wife Bert and Jean Stather (above) are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today.
The couple met while Hartlepool-born Bert was stationed at RAF Binbrook, in Lincolnshire, in 1950, where Welsh-born Jean was working in the NAAFI.
Less than a year later, they were married on January 26, at Bridgend Register Office, near Jean’s home village of Ogmore Vale.
Bert, now 82, recalls: “She was very shy at the time, I had to do all the running.
“It was her really dark eyes that attracted me, they were her outstanding feature.”
After just a year of married life, Jean, now 80, and Bert were forced to spend time apart, when Bert was posted to Singapore.
Bert said: “After just a year it was a real pull, but when you are in service, when they say go, you go.”
He said the secret to a long and happy marriage was “like everything else, tolerance”.
Jean moved to Hartlepool to live with Bert’s mother and after six months, she moved out to Singapore and the couple spent two years there together.
They returned to Hartlepool in 1954.
Jean got a job at the Siemens telecommunications factory and Bert was stationed at Ouston, near Chester-le-Street, for six months before later becoming a steel erector.
The couple went on to have six children, Michael, 55, who lives in Wynyard, Keith, 53, who lives in Hayward Heath, West Sussex, 52-year-old triplets Elaine Rose, who lives in Hartlepool, Gillian Falshaw, who lives in Twickenham, in Greater London and Janet Morrell, who lives in Lincolnshire, and Carol Swift, 50, who also lives in Twickenham.
They also have eight grandchildren and two great-granchildren.
The couple, who live in Owton Manor Lane, hope to have all the family together at Easter, when their granddaughter Kelly-Anne Rose gets married at St Mary Magdalene Church in Hart Village.