SIXTY years is a long time to stay together, so one Basingstoke couple marked the milestone anniversary with a “noisy” family party.

Ken and Jackie Woods, of Beech Way in Winklebury, celebrate their diamond anniversary today on March 16.

They had a party at the weekend, where their entire family came around to celebrate.

The couple have three children, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, with another great-grandchild expected in May of this year.

“It was really nice to have them all around,” Jackie said.

“It was a bit noisy, but it was great to have everyone here to celebrate not only our anniversary, but also my 80th birthday, which was on Sunday as well.”

The couple were married in Douai Abbey in Reading on March 16, 1957, the month before Ken went off to do national service in Cyprus for 20 months.

Ken said: “It was the best thing to do at the time, and it was the right time to do it, just before I left.

“I came back for our first wedding anniversary, and I made it back to celebrate her 21st birthday as well, which made it a bit easier for us both.”

Jackie spent much of her working life as a nurse, working in various roles and hospitals, including Basingstoke hospital.

Appropriately, Ken worked for a time with the Van Moppes diamond company, after his national service.

There must be secret to their marriage lasting so long, but the couple claim that there is nothing to hide.

“There’s no magical answer to having a long-lasting marriage,”

Jackie, the former nurse of 31 years said. “I liken it to cooking a sponge. You could have all the right ingredients and put them in the right order, but unless you have that special something, it becomes a pancake.”

“There’s no fun in agreeing all the time,” Ken said.

“You just have to persevere, and that’s the way to get through everything life throws at you.

When you get little ones and grandchildren, it really adds another dimension to everything and that helps you to persevere more.”

The happy couple, who have lived in Basingstoke for all their married life, will be having a few friends around on the day of the anniversary and having a meal.