FRIENDS and family from around the world helped Marlborough couple Tom and Chris Raine celebrate their Sapphire wedding anniversary on Saturday.

The couple met at Birmingham University in 1948 when Mr Raine was a postgraduate studying chemical engineering and Mrs Raine was his professor’s secretary.

Mrs Raine, 88, said: “There were four girls and all these undergraduate students so we had our pick.”

Mr Raine, 93, added: “I was perhaps the most persistent.”

They married a year later at Bournville church before moving to Kent.

Mr Raine’s work as technical director of paper producers Bowater meant the couple had a globetrotting life, living in Paris, Helsinki and South Africa.

They settled in Marlborough 30 years ago, first living in Cherry Orchard and then moving to Cromwell Mews in the High Street 11 years ago.

Mr Raine said: “We had a lovely couple of years in Paris and an awful spell in Helsinki; it was so cold you wouldn’t believe it.”

Mrs Raine said: “We came here to retire because we’d been travelling all our lives and we just loved Marlborough when we came.”

Their actual 65th wedding anniversary was on May 7 when they celebrated by going for a meal in Wootton Rivers with their daughter, Heather, and husband Rodger, who live in Malmesbury.

The following weekend 38 guests joined them at a function room at Marlborough College including guests from Belgium and Kent and their son, Robin, who came over from Ireland.

Mrs Raine said: “It was lovely, wonderful.

“Everybody asks us what the key to a happy marriage is but well and truly I don’t know. Compatibility I suppose. Really the thing is to be able to tolerate.”