WITH family, friends and their church central to their lives, it was fitting that Dennis and Rita Ridout celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary at St Luke’s with their loved ones.

The pair, who live in Pamber Heath, enjoyed coffee and cake at the coffee morning, which Rita helps organise at St Luke’s Church, in Church Road, on their anniversary on April 6.

The couple met at church in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Rita, 86, told The Gazette: “We knew each other for quite a while through the church and we got on really well.

"We were married a year after we started dating and then moved to Tadley through Dennis’ work.”

The pair were married in St John’s Church in Tunbridge Wells on April 6, 1957.

The couple then moved into the borough where Dennis worked as a scientific assistant at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston.

As an avid baker, Rita has worked in many schools around the area before running the coffee mornings at St Luke’s. Shortly after their marriage the couple began their family, having five children.

Rita added: “We didn’t have time to do much, we had the kids to look after.

“We had one child by the first year of our marriage, two by the second and three by the third.”

The pair told The Gazette that they enjoy spending their time gardening and going on walks together, with Dennis enjoying bird watching.

When asked what the key to a long and successful marriage is, 87-year-old Dennis said: “No marriage is going to be without its ups and downs. “We found that no matter what, if you compromise and support each other you will be happy.”