COUPLES who celebrated a milestone wedding anniversary this year had an extra cause for celebration as they were invited to a special reception hosted by the borough’s first citizen.

A total of 27 couples joined Basingstoke and Deane Mayor Councillor Dan Putty and his wife Julie at the Civic Offices, in London Road. Nineteen of the couples are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary during the current mayoral year and eight have reached the diamond milestone.

Peter and Olive Silverton were one of the eight couples who have marked 60 years of marriage, reaching their special landmark on Thursday, February 13.

The happy couple, of Tweedsmuir Close, Buckskin, Basingstoke, started dating in 1953 after meeting in a cinema in Romford, Essex where they both worked.

Peter, who is now 80, had just returned from serving with the Royal Artillery in Egypt, as part of his national service, and the pair married three months later at the register office in Romford.

Peter and Olive have lived in Basingstoke for 40 years and have three children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Peter said: “We don’t argue, and I don’t see the sense in losing your temper. It is just about being close and giving and taking.” Olive, 81, added: “He jokes constantly and I never know what is going to come out of him.”

Speaking about the Mayor’s event, Olive said: “It has been lovely and everything has been perfect.”

Cllr Putty, who will celebrate 40 years of marriage with Julie in July, told The Gazette: “The couples have been giving me so many tips and I have learned a lot – now I know how to get to 60 years of marriage!

“Today has been really fantastic and it is a delight to be among people with such maturity and experience.”

He added: “These people can give everybody a lesson in how to really get through storms and come out in a nice way.”