Childhood sweethearts who were reunited in later life are today toasting an incredible 60 years of marriage.
Ruth and Charles Anderson have known each other since before their teens, but after a number of years apart met up at a celebration to mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in Marine Park, South Shields.
The pair married at St Bede’s Church in the town on September 29, 1956.
They went on to have two sons, Keith and Jeffrey, and now have four grandchildren.
Charles, now 80, began working life as an apprentice plumber with South Shields Corporation, before doing two years of National Service in the RAF.
He then worked in the Tyne Shipyards before going into teaching as a handicraft teacher in schools in Newcastle and South Shields, finishing his career at Mortimer Comprehensive School.
Ruth worked in the head office at the Noble Organisation in Beach Road and then as a youth and community leader with South Tyneside Council for 30 years.
The active couple, of Marsden, have continued to take part in sport throughout their lives, with Ruth doing netball and squash as well as completing four London Marathons and the Great North Run 16 times.
She has also managed to finish the Inca Trek to Machu Pichu in Peru just five years ago.
Charles has been involved in football, cricket and squash and has also done the Great North Run 14 times.
Ruth and Charles still go skiing two or three times each year, with Charles singing as part of Shiney Row Male Voice Choir, in Houghton.
Speaking to the Gazette Ruth, 81, said: “We’ve always been involved in sport and when our children were small it worked out well in that one of us could do activities while the other looked after them.
“We’re still active and go away a few times a year. Our sons say we are never at home!
“A cousin of mine used to say that me and Charles have a chemistry and I suppose that’s true.”
The pair are celebrating their Diamond wedding anniversary with family and friends at South Shields Indoor Bowls Centre.
They also hope to holiday abroad again soon.