A MEON Valley couple have celebrated 60 years of marriage surrounded by their friends and family.

Maureen and Brian Ashton, of Moorlands Road in Swanmore, were married in 1957 and marked their diamond wedding anniversary with a tea party and cake.

Maureen was born and raised in Eastleigh and Brian was brought up in Bedford Place in Southampton before moving to Netley Marsh.

Maureen's parents were the stewards of the Pirelli Social Club, where Brian's dad also worked.

The pair met at Pirelli where Brian played tennis and cricket at the sports club and Maureen used to help her parents providing teas.

After getting married, their first home was a caravan at Tangmere near Chichester, and have since lived in Hong Kong, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Dorset.

They later returned to their home county of Hampshire in 2000.

Maureen said: "We had a wonderful time at the party, it was a surprise for us.

" We got some lovely cards, around 21, and even a card from the Queen, and some lovely flowers."

When asked about the key to a successful, long-lasting marriage, Maureen added: "Understanding. I think this is very important, and not making too much of things. Avoiding confrontation as well."

Their daughter, Sue Harris, who lives in Itchen Abbas, said: " We had a cake made in the design of dad’s old MG - the car they went off in on their honeymoon to Brixham and we invited a few family members and friends to a small surprise tea party in the afternoon.

"Receiving a card from the Queen made the day. It was a very special occasion and we’re incredibly proud that mum and dad have achieved 60 years of marriage."