IT WAS party time as a long-married couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with family and friends.

Guests travelled from all over the South to be with Dave and Lilly New when they celebrated their special anniversary at a hotel in Bournemouth last Saturday.

The couple, of Bow Field, Hook, also had a meal together at Tylney Hall Hotel, in Ridge Lane, Rotherwick, last Thursday, on the actual day of their anniversary.

They met as teenagers at a dance at Latchmere Baths, in Battersea, London, in January 1951.

Dave, 81, said: “They used to put the top on the swimming pool to make a dance floor.

“We met and had a dance. I was quite the smooth operator in those days!”

The pair started dating and after Dave’s stint of national service, they married at a church in Battersea on July 31, 1954.

Dave, who worked for a bank, and Lilly, who worked for Colgate-Palmolive, moved to Frimley Green, Surrey, in 1967, and it wasn’t until 1993 that they moved to their current home in Hook.

They have one daughter, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Dave is a keen golfer and a member of Tylney Park Golf Club, while Lilly is chairman of the north Hampshire branch of the Townswoman’s Guild.

Asked what makes a long and happy marriage, Dave said: “You have got to be friends – that’s the basic thing. If you are not friends, you are never going to get on.”

Lilly, 80, added: “He makes me laugh. We are always laughing.”