A DELIGHTED Basingstoke couple have celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary with a cruise and a family party.

Charles Gleed, 85, and wife Joyce, 79, live in Munnings Close and have been together since they met at London Bridge in 1949.

Previously they had been neighbours in the same street in Slade Green, Kent. Joyce remembers her mother looking out of the window in 1948 at Charles, then a soldier with a kit bag and demob suit, and saying: “I’m looking at the man you’re going to marry.” Being only 15, Joyce wasn’t interested and didn’t go to the window.

The pair eventually got together after meeting through friends on train journeys to and from London many months later. Joyce was 16 and Charles 21.

Charles said: “We began courting after I had left the army, and we used to go and watch the ice hockey at Earl’s Court Arena.”

The couple married on May 24 in 1952, moving to Basingstoke in 1963. Charles worked in the export department at Macmillan Publishing, while Joyce had been a seamstress for Ede and Ravenscroft in London, the country’s oldest tailor and robe maker.

Joyce has an interesting tie-in with the current jubilee celebrations from her time there. She said: “I remember sewing the fur lining into the robes used during Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in June, 1953.”

The couple recently enjoyed a surprise party at Joyce’s daughter Carol Dick’s house in Cumberland Avenue, Basingstoke, a day after returning from a Caribbean cruise, on May 19. Present were many of the Gleed family, which includes four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, with a third due to be born this week.

Joyce said: “It was lovely to see our family and the party included a cake designed and made in the shape of my wedding veil. It was curved around the edges with neat little bows, just like the original which I still have at home.”