A COUPLE who got together when he was 21 and she was just 15 are today celebrating their Diamond wedding anniversary.

Jeff and Astrid Lovelock have been married 60 years and lived in more than 30 houses – many of which they built themselves.

Mr Lovelock was one of southern Oxfordshire’s best-known builders and only retired six years ago when he was 78.

Asked what the secret to a long marriage was, Mrs Lovelock, who is 78 now, said: “Give and take.

“You enjoy the good days and you plough through the bad ones.

“Then again you couldn’t argue with this one – he’d just shut up.”

Astrid Curtis was born and grew up in West Hanney, while Jeff Lovelock grew up near Kingsclere south of Newbury.

After school the young Astrid got a job packing parachutes at RAF Milton while Mr Lovelock went into the building trade.

The couple met in 1954 at the Red House pub in Highclere.

Mrs Lovelock recalled: “He sent over his brother George, who came up and said ‘my brother over there wants to know if he can see you some time next week’.

“I looked over, and he looked very nice – handsome and tidy.”

After talking to George for a long time, she agreed to be taken out, and the next week the young Jeff took his future bride on their first date – to a motorbike scramble at Aldershot.

Luckily, the young Astrid had already developed a taste for the sport watching speedway at Oxford and Swindon and was delighted with his choice of entertainment.

The couple were soon seeing each other on a regular basis and then decided to move in together.

Before they even married Mr Lovelock build their first house together in Kingsclere.

They were married on December 21, 1957, at St Peter’s Church in Didcot, when the future Mrs Lovelock was just 18.

She wore a Belgium lace dress which she bought in Oxford for just £12, and he wore a pinstripe suit.

The following November they welcomed their first child Marion, followed by Andrew in November 1960 and Julie in November 1964.

As the children grew up Mr Lovelock built his reputation as a master builder, while Mrs Lovelock raised the children – and her farm animals.

At one point she said she was looking after pigs, goats and 500 chickens as well as raising her three children.

The couple, who live in Larkdown, Wantage, now have six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

They will celebrate their anniversary at home on Saturday with family and friends.