A WIDNES couple celebrating their diamond wedding were delighted to receive a message of congratulations from the queen.

Great grandparents Tom and Joan Cosgrove, both 82, first met when they were only five years old.

Tom, of Mayfield Avenue, and Joan, of New Street, were childhood friends at St Bede’s Catholic Primary School.

Their daughter Jackie Manning, 53, said: “They both loved to dance and met up again aged 16 at St Marie’s dance hall.

Tom enlisted in the army at 17 and was posted to Germany in 1953.

But he said: "When I came home on leave I would meet Joan at dances and we fell in love."

Tom left the army after three years and went home to propose to the love of his life.

The couple got married within two years at St Bede's Church next door to the primary school where they first met.

Mum-of-three Jackie added: “They had their wedding reception at the Ball of Ditton, costing £13 for 40 people. We found the original receipt.”

Joan went on to work at Great Universal Stores.

Dad-of-two Tom, who worked at Ford in Halewood, said: “It was a lot of money in those days and we had to save up and family helped.”

The couple, who have a son Tom, 59, will celebrate their anniversary with their five grandchildren and three great grandchildren at a family party on Saturday.

Tom added: "We are really proud of all of them. All my children and grandchildren are a lot cleverer than I was.

"I wouldn't change our lives together for the world. Some of the best memories are from when our children got married and their children came along.

"Time doesn't have pass quickly."