THIS smiling Hampshire couple are today looking back on 65 years of happy marriage after meeting as childhood neighbours in a Southampton street.

Malcolm and Muriel Wort, from Rushington, are celebrating their sapphire wedding anniversary with a family meal.

The couple, who were the well-known faces behind Totton Motor Factors Ltd for many years, lived in neighbouring properties in York Road in Freemantle as children. 

READ MORE: 'An incredible woman': Husband's tribute to author and broadcaster

They married at Christ Church, Freemantle on August 2, 1958, just days after Muriel's 21st birthday, enjoying a reception at the hall in Ashby Road nearby.  

Malcolm, now 89, was a motorcycle mechanic at the now defunct Alec Bennetts in Portswood and Muriel, who celebrated her 86th birthday this week, worked as a housekeeper at Freemantle Rectory, near Millbrook train station, which is now a block of flats.

Daily Echo:

The Worts, who moved to Rushington in 1967, have three children Cheryl, Robert and Barry, seven grandchildren Victoria, Paige, Stephanie, Matthew, Bethanie, Jordan and Katelyn, two step grandchildren Lauren and Callum and three great grandchildren Tyler, Lacey and Heath. 

The couple started their car spares business in Water Lane, Totton, in 1985, selling it and retiring in 2009. 

The seasoned travellers, who have visited many countries including the USA, Canada, Mexico, Greece, Italy and Cyprus, hope to return to New Zealand some day to visit their son and his family. 

Muriel, who likes to knit, and Malcolm, who still loves to tinker with car engines, received a card from King Charles III to mark the occasion. It will sit proudly alongside the card from Queen Elizabeth II who congratulated them on their 60th wedding anniversary. 

Daily Echo:

Muriel told the Daily Echo: "We've had our ups and downs, believe me! I don't think any marriage is perfect, we've been hard up at times and we've had difficulties, but we've always stuck together. 

"We've been very lucky. We have a great family and we really enjoy the Forest. With the business, we got to know all our customers so well that they all became like friends. 

"We're very ordinary, but we've had many good years."

Daily Echo: