LOVE is still in the air for a couple who are celebrating 60 years of marriage.
Jean and Bill Birkett say they are still as happy as they were the day they tied the knot in London.
The pair met as teenagers when they sang in the choir of a city church in Roker and have been together ever since.
Jean, 82, who is a Black Cats’ season ticker holder, said: “Bill’s family went to church and someone asked my mother if she would go.
“She decided to send me in her place and that’s how we met.”
When Bill moved to London to take up a job with shoe company, Timpsons, Jean quickly followed.
I did tell our families what we were going to do, so we weren’t that naughty.
She said: “We missed each other too much, so I went there and we got married in Lambeth. I did tell our families what we were going to do, so we weren’t that naughty.”
While living in London the couple’s eldest daughter, Pauline, 59, was born, followed by son, Stephen, 58, the following year when the couple had moved so Swansea.
Just a few years later they were back living in Sunderland where their youngest daughter, Janet, 54, was born and Bill, 82, was working for the local authority.
The Fulwell Mill couple, who have seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, went out with their family for a special meal to celebrate their diamond wedding yesterday.
Jean, who is also a member of the Enon Baptist Church, said: “We have been really happy all these years and know how lucky we are.
“We both have our own hobbies and interests and I think that helps keep you going and the grandchildren keep you going as well.”
While Bill’s hobbies include arts and crafts, such as making stained glass items, Jean is more interested in following her favourite football team and rarely misses a home game.
When asked what she thought the secret to their successful marriage is, Jean said: “We always have a laugh together.
“You have to laugh sometimes or otherwise you would cry.
“We like to see the funny side of things.”