A DEVOTED couple who have lived for their entire lives in a village near Evesham have celebrated 60 years of married bliss.

Ray and Cherry Stanley of Salford Priors near Evesham were married on July 23 1955 and celebrated their diamond anniversary last week.

The couple both grew up in the village and met at a dance in Broadway in 1952.

They were married at St Matthew’s Church in Salford Priors three years later on a very hot day while Mr Stanley was on six weeks leave from active service with the army in Cyprus.

His new wife went with him when he returned to the Mediterranean island, where they lived for 15 months until Mr Stanley’s national service was over and they returned to Salford Priors.

Settling in the village, they raised three children – David, Trudy and Hazel – and later became the very proud grandparents of six.

Mr Stanley, now aged 82, spent the remainder of his working life as a company accountant with agricultural and municipal equipment manufacturer Bomford Group and was also a reader and lay minister at St Matthew’s Church for 24 years.

His wife, now aged 83, worked as a telegraphist and telephone exchange operator in Evesham, while both have spent many years volunteering with the Royal British Legion.

Mr Stanley has filled roles including secretary of the local branch of the organisation for more than 50 years while Mrs Stanley has sold poppies in the village since she was 16. She also helped out with distributing Meals on Wheels in the area.

Their youngest daughter Hazel, now Mrs Higgens, paid tribute to her parents and their landmark anniversary.

"Mum and Dad are wonderful parents and grandparents, whose Christian values have been a rock for us all,” she said. “They have always been there for us through 60 years of caring, sharing, helping and loving.

“They are adored by their grandchildren, children, family and many friends."

The two celebrated their landmark on the day itself with a lunch party at Dumbleton Hall near Tewksbury, which was attended by family as well as three friends who had been bridesmaids at their ceremony 60 years ago.