A COUPLE from Shipton Bellinger were treated to a surprise party with family and friends to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

Their three children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were in attendance as well as friends from as far as Kent and Bournemouth.

Raymond and Margaret Bowden married at Andover register office, having met in Tidworth at the Garrison Theatre where Raymond predicted he would one day marry Margaret when he first saw her on a bus.

His prediction came true just over a year after they became a couple when they were married on 19 December 1953.

They have lived in Shipton Bellinger all their married life and all their children and seven of their grandchildren also live in the village today.

Raymond worked as a builder, foreman, window cleaner and a manager at an American insurance company and enjoys lawn green bowls and with Margaret has been on cruises around the Mediterranean.

Margaret helps out at the Naomi House shop in Andover every Wednesday and instead of presents for their anniversary the couple asked for donations to the children’s hospice which totalled over £300.

Margaret and Raymond paid tribute to the support and love of their family, they said: “They are always here for us and we have the most wonderful family, they are very special and we often wonder how we came to be so lucky.”

When asked what the secret to a happy marriage is Margaret said: “You have big arguments and you make up and move on, we love each other and we live for each other.”