A COUPLE celebrating three decades of marriage are calling in a bet made by the man who said their love would never last.

When Peter and Janet Jones got together while working at the Railway Hotel, in Hartford, their boss Derek Shirley bet them £5 their romance wouldn't go the distance.

But last Monday the pair, from Cogshall Lane in Comberbach, spent their 30th wedding anniversary at their Tenerife apartment.

Peter, 52, said: "He light heartedly bet me £5 that our relationship would not last longer than six months. Before the wager could be collected, we had moved on to pastures new."

It was an instant attraction according to Janet, also 52, who was taken under Peter's wing on her first night at the pub.

She said: "Before I met him the landlord said you're working with such a nice lad tonight, he's just returned from bowling'. Well that put me off him but then I met him and I thought he was absolutely lovely.

"I think it's really funny, Derek was quite determined that we weren't compatible - he spoke to both of us about it."

But romance blossomed and Peter and Janet married at St Mary's Church, in Great Budworth, on April 2, 1977, and have two children Stuart and Helen aged 24 and 22.

Both took early retirement from Daresbury Laboratory last year and this is the first time they've been able to celebrate their anniversary together.

Peter said: "I've always been in finance and as our anniversary is at the end of the financial year, I've always had to work."

It was a chance conversation about their former boss that stirred Peter's memory about the bet.

He said: "I think it's time to call in' the bet. So Derek, I believe you are still living locally and are hopefully a reader, and knowing you as an honourable person and a man of your word, can I suggest that you now make a £5 donation - plus a bit of interest thrown in for good measure - to a local charity, lets say St Luke's Hospice, and after all these years, we'll call it quits."

He added: "Best wishes to you and yours, we hope that you are all in good health, and better luck with any future wagers."

Anyone who knows Derek's whereabouts can contact reporter Gemma Sproston on 01606 813624 or you can email her at gsproston@guardiangrp.co.uk and she'll do the rest.