A Swadlincote couple who were delighted to receive a card from the Queen for their blue sapphire anniversary have renewed their vows to celebrate 65 years of marriage.
Ellen Parker, 85, and her husband Frank, 87, are over the moon to have reached the special milestone but are "not surprised one bit".
The pair, who have a daughter Lynn, 52, met in 1950 and after sharing their lives together, decided to pledge their remaining years to each other in a romantic renewal ceremony earlier this week.
Ellen, who was born and bred in Swadlincote, said: "When I was about 18 I was working at a confectionery shop when I moved to a new branch in Overseal which was owned by Frank’s parents.
"His mum always bought me a cup of tea and one day he asked her if he could bring me the cup of tea round. It was a lovely surprise and I thought he seemed okay and I let him take me on a date."
The pair went to see a film at the Empire Cinema and it "blossomed from there".
Frank said: "Her dad was very strict and I had to get her home by nine every night. I knew I wanted to propose but it took me a while to get round to it."
Ellen said: "He finally plucked up the courage and kept following my dad up the garden to ask if we could get engaged. We had been courting for a couple of years and my dad said: 'He seems like a nice lad. You make your bed, you lie'."
The blessing was good enough for Ellen and Frank, who now live in Hall Farm Road, and they wed at Emmanuel Church, in Swadlincote, on August 30, 1952.
Ellen said: "The wedding day was lovely and the weather was gorgeous. All our family and friends were there and we had our reception at the Scout hut in Church Gresley. It was perfect."
The pair set off on honeymoon in Scarborough to begin married their life.
Ellen said: "We got the midnight train at bang on 12 to Scarborough where we stayed for a week and we have been many years since."
Frank added: "We went to the open air theatre to see The Desert Song, which was a beautiful show. We sat under a blanket because there was a chill; we had a lovely time."
The pair lived with Frank’s parents for 10 years before they moved into their first home together in Burton Road, Overseal - a terraced cottage. Then Lynn came along.
The duo, who have five grandchildren and five great grandchildren, spent their time travelling and when Frank retired from his job at the national coal board at the age of 56, their family embarked on adventures around the world and the roles became reversed at home.
Ellen, who also worked as a home help with social services for 14 years, said: "We loved travelling together until Frank became ill; Tunisia was our favourite and we used to go for six weeks at a time.
"We had a caravan in Ingoldmells for 30 years and we always had one of the children in tow. We would bike across the seafront; that was our love. We have had some lovely times. We love spending time together and enjoying our family.
"When Frank retired he took over things at home, cooking, shopping and helping with the children but when he became ill our roles were reversed.
"When I went to have a new knee he cared for me, made sure I did my exercises every day and went to the gym. We both did our share and looked after each other."
Frank, who played tennis for Bass Brewery until he was 70, said: "When I was in hospital with a brain haemorrhage for about five weeks there wasn’t a day that Ellen didn’t come and see me; every single day she would travel from Swadlincote to Nottingham to be by my side and not a word about it."
Ellen said her time with Frank has flown and she is looking forward to what the future brings.
She said: "I am not surprised at all that we made it to 65 years and I am looking forward to making it to 70. It doesn’t seem that long at all; it has just flown by. I wouldn’t have changed any of it for the world.
"I don’t know if there is a secret to a long and happy marriage but we just work together. There is plenty of compromise but we love each other, respect each other and we are still exactly the same people as we were when we first met; the same people we fell in love with."
The pair, who received a special card from the Queen as part of the celebrations, marked the milestone in style by returning to the church where they first said 'I do', to renew their vows.
The pair expressed their love for each other in front of 50 guests including members of the original wedding party, before holding a reception at Swadlincote Ski Centre.
Ellen said: "Everything went so well, it was amazing."
Daughter Lynn hailed her mum and dad as an "inspiration".
She said: "I just think it is amazing. They are an inspiration. It is really emotional. I treasure every moment. There were lots of tears at the reception, but I feel so blessed.
"Mum is still like a 16-year-old dancing away and she wanted to go down the ski slopes on Sunday but they wouldn’t let her. They are both very much young at heart and still in love which is why it works."