IT WILL be party time for a golden couple tomorrow as they celebrate a marriage milestone.

Overton’s Mick and Val Ward tied the knot on September 5, 1964, and they will be marking the special occasion with 80 of their family and friends this weekend as they look back on five decades of marriage.

The couple met after one of Val’s friends dared her sit on the back of Mick’s motorbike when they were in Andover town centre in 1959.

He asked her for a date when they later bumped into each other, and the two have been together ever since.

Val, 72, said: “I thought he was really handsome.”

The couple married in St Mary’s Church, Over-ton, and have lived in the village ever since, now living in Pond Close.

Mick worked for much of his life in Portals Mill, now De La Rue, and Val has had a number of jobs in retail and waitressing.

They have two daughters and four grandchildren, who they enjoy spending much of their time with.

The couple also enjoy gardening and going on cruises.

Mick, 75, said that the secret of a long marriage was simply “being nice to each other”.

He added: “We have similar ideas and personalities.”

Val said her father had given her some advice prior to their wedding which they have tried to live by – that life gives you one bit of string and that you both should pull that string together, in the same direction.

Their daughter, Sharon Booth, said: “They really thrive on helping other people and that’s what makes them happy.”