CHILDHOOD sweethearts from Kidderminster are celebrating 60 years of marriage today.

Phyllis, 81, and Donald Preece, 85, got married at noon on Saturday, August 28, 1954, in St John the Baptist Church, Bewdley Road.

To mark the diamond anniversary, they had a blessing in an 11th century church while away on the Isle of Wight and their family have also organised a meal at The Granary Hotel and Restaurant.

Mrs Preece said: “We’re really looking forward to the meal - it’s going to be great to see all the family.

“The church we had the blessing at was lovely - it was so beautiful.”

The couple first met in Brinton Park when Mrs Preece, nee Maiden, was just 15 years old.

“Donald was playing tennis and I was watching him with my friends and asked him to buy me an ice cream,” she said.

“I was very young at the time and he was a bit older than me but my mum found out about us and was not too happy.

“We did get back together a few years later and have been together ever since.”

They have lived in Kidderminster their whole lives and have four children, James, Michael, Raymond and Angela, 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

They now spend their time enjoying each other’s time at their home but Mrs Preece said they did not do as much in their free time as they used to.

“Donald is quite ill now and has to have specialist treatment,” she said.

“However, about two or three times a year, our daughter and son-in-law take us away on holiday.

“We are well looked after by all our children and even those we don’t get to see as often still keep in touch with us most nights to see how we’re getting on.”

Mrs Preece said the secret to their long marriage was that they never went to bed angry with each other and always said "I love you".

“We’ve always had one another and have gone through all our ups and downs together,” she said.

“We love each other as much now as we ever have done.

Mr Preece said: “It’s been a brilliant marriage. I love her so much and I tell her that every day.”

The couple’s son-in-law, Roger Booth, said it had been a big achievement for them to reach the milestone.

“They are dedicated to each other and rely on one another,” he said.

“They are great people and deserve the happiness they have.”