A COUPLE from a village near Andover marked an extraordinary milestone as they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday, August 31.

Jean and Richard Hayes, long-time residents of Charlton village, first crossed paths 64 years ago in a cinema in Barnet, London, where they were both watching the film Peeping Tom.

Little did they know that this chance encounter would mark the beginning of a remarkable journey together.

To commemorate their 60 years of marriage, the Hayeses organised a gathering on Sunday, August 13, where around 25 close-knit families joined them at the Royal Oak in Charlton.

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The day was filled with joy and laughter, highlighted by a lunch and homemade pudding lovingly prepared by Jean.

Although they had applied for a telegram from the King to mark this special occasion, it has not arrived yet, adding an element of anticipation to their celebration.

Richard turned 80th birthday this year, which the family celebrated with a party. Jean turned 79 just two weeks ago.

Traditionally, the couple embarked on an annual cruise to celebrate their anniversary, with the Caribbean cruise being their favoured destination.

However, this year, they decided to forgo their usual tradition due to Richard's health concerns, opting instead for a cherished family gathering.

In addition to their anniversary cruises, the Hayes family also enjoy their yearly trips to Butlin’s in Bognor Regis for a midweek holiday, accompanied by their three great-grandchildren.

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Having called Andover home for nearly half a century, Jean and Richard relocated from London in search of more space to raise their two daughters.

Over the years, their family has grown, with five grandchildren and nearly four great-grandchildren, including the anticipation of a fourth great-grandchild.

When asked about the secret to their enduring marriage, Jean said: “We give each other space. My husband enjoys golf holidays, and I've never objected. I've also taken trips with my sister and mother, and he's never objected. I think that's part of it - not restricting each other but also enjoying shared experiences.”

The two have been proud residents of Andover for many years, with Richard being a master builder who constructed their home in Charlton, where they have lived for 35 years.

Jean, on the other hand, has worked in the retail trade.