IT started off as a friendship, but now a Kentsboro couple are set to mark their diamond wedding anniversary in style.

Freda and George Mawson met at young age in Northumberland as their fathers were best friends, but it was years before the pair even thought it could be more.

Speaking about their friendship, George, aged 86, said: “They [Freda’s family] didn’t have a radio in their house but my dad used to build radios and she used to come across every weekday night and listen to Dick Barton Special Agent.”

After many years of growing a bond, at the age of 16 Freda was dared by a friend to make the first move.

She said: “I was in grammar school in the choir and I fancied George. He was an apprentice watch maker at the local jewellers and my friend dared me to go in and ask if he wanted a ticket to the concert we were holding – I was singing a solo.”

And as luck had it George attended the performance in July 1954 and he later asked Freda to go to a cricket match with him.

Recalling their first date, Freda, aged 81, said: “I was wearing short socks and they let me in for half price. He was so embarrassed.”

As their life progressed Freda attended Durham University but this did not stop their love developing and the couple soon got engaged.

“I went and saw her dad, we were old fashioned even then, but he knew me very well so there was problem, he said ‘of course George’.”

The pair went together to pick Freda’s engagement ring and in the middle of a field George popped the question.

They were wed on October 17, 1959, at their local Methodist church which they regularly attended.

With George being in the Army during their courtship and after they were married the couple travelled settling in Andover, with their two children, Philip and Yvette, after George helped moved the only Le Creuset supplier in the UK, Clarbat, to the town, and he later went back to working as an engineer.

Freda went on to become the headteacher of Castledown School, in Ludgershall, now Wellington Academy.

On top of their work, the couple have a shared love of music, with Freda still playing the piano everyday and George enjoying the cello and violin, and during their spell in Somerset they also found a fondness for dancing, which will take centre stage at their anniversary celebrations on Saturday.

Having visited the Army Flying Museum many times over the years the couple will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary at the attraction surrounded by friends and family, including their eight grandchildren plus three surrogate grandchildren.

Sharing their secret to a long and happy marriage, Freda said: “Love, laughter and luck. “We love each other so much. We don’t fall out because we keep each other right. We don’t criticise, we just have a laugh and help each other.”