THE first day of a new job is usually a daunting experience, but for one Bradford on Avon couple, it paved the way for 60 years of happy marriage.

Kenneth Howell was waiting outside the clerk’s office on the first day of his job in the wages department at Staverton’s Nestle factory in 1954 when he was approached by a woman called Marlene.

The pair, of Southville Road, struck up a conversation and hit it off immediately. They then started canvassing for the then Liberal Party and married on June 8, 1957 at Holy Trinity Church in Trowbridge.

Mr Howell, 85, said: “I think it was simply meant to be.

“I was waiting to see the clerk on my first day on the job and lots of people were walking past without stopping.

“Then, suddenly, Marlene stopped and asked if I was waiting to see the clerk. She was the first person to stop and talk to me.

“I was the secretary of the local branch of the Liberal Party and as we both shared the same views we started canvassing together.

“The rest is history.

“Our marriage has been a case of give and take – I give and she takes!”

Mr Howell moved to Bradford on Avon when he was eight, after being evacuated from Birmingham in the Second World War, while Mrs Howell was born in Trowbridge before moving to Bradford on Avon.

The couple have three daughters, Lesley, Julie and Sarah and six grandchildren, with five grandsons and one granddaughter, aged between 13 and 26.

On Saturday evening (June 3), the entire family and friends enjoyed a celebration at Staverton Club to mark the occasion.

Mrs Howell, 78, said: “When we got married our vicar said couples should never go to bed after an argument, and we’ve managed to stick to that.

“We really enjoyed the celebrations on Saturday night, at the same place where we celebrated our 50th anniversary.”