A COUPLE who met in the final seconds of 1950 are due to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary this Boxing Day.

Bernard and Joan Buckley shared their first moments together during the New Year ’s Eve countdown celebrations in Northwich’s Bull Ring 63 years ago.

But Bernard explained that he wouldn’t have met his soul mate if a friend hadn’t decided to take a certain fork in the road that fateful night.

“I hadn’t been back from National Service in Egypt very long, and it was New Year’s Eve,” said the 83-year-old.

“A friend of mine said to me: ‘Should we go to Winsford or Northwich tonight?’.

“I lived in Moulton at the time, so I said Winsford, and he replied: ‘no, let’s go to Northwich instead.

“If I had gone the opposite direction, I wouldn’t have met my wife.

“In those days on New Year’s Eve, everybody congregated in the Bull Ring. It was all lit up and there was music playing, and that’s where I met my lady.”

Bernard worked as a mechanic at Leicester Garage, on the site of the current Marks and Spencer’s.

A keen biker, he and Joan would attend motorcycle scrambles together while courting.

“We had been thinking of getting married and we just thought: ‘It’s Christmas, let’s do it while everyone is off and not working,” said Joan, 81.

Since then, each festive season has brought a double celebration for the couple, and they’re marking this year’s landmark with a big party.

With three children, Andrew, 47, Karen, 51 and Philip 58, ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren, it’s been a life filled with family and happiness since that fateful day in the Bull Ring.

“We didn’t think when we got married all those years ago that we’d have this big family regiment around us, but we’re very proud of them all,” said Bernard.

“I’d say the key to a happy marriage is sharing things together, being there for each other and also having some time to yourself,” added Joan.