Goldon couple Connie and Bill Lambert will be celebrating 50 years of happy marriage on Saturday.

Mr Lambert, from Hexham and Mrs Lambert, from Fulham, met in Denmark Hill, London, while both at training college for the Salvation Army (SA).

The couple, who live in Middlefield Road in Chippenham, have since spent half their married life working for the SA together.

Mr Lambert, 72, has a lung disease and was told at Christmas that he only has a year to live, so they are treasuring their golden year.

Speaking on their meeting in 1959, Mr Lambert said: “I had my eye on her but she was with someone else.”

A few years later he heard they had split up, so he wrote her a letter asking if she could contribute a shilling parcel to a charity bazaar he was running. She obliged and romance blossomed.

He proposed to her in South Shields after buying a ring on the spur of the moment.

“He slipped the ring on me before he popped the question, but I didn’t mind, I knew he was the one,” said Mrs Lambert, 75. They have worked in centres for single homeless people in Bristol, Swindon and Manchester and set up a unit for the elderly in Bristol.

Mr Lambert has been a staunch Arsenal fan ever since he stood outside the Arsenal grounds at Highbury in his SA uniform as a young man, shaking his charity tin.

He said: “I was never interested in football before, not until 1971 when Arsenal did the double. I would love to go to an Arsenal match and sit in one of the boxes and meet all the players.”

The couple first arrived in Chippenham in 1977 when they were appointed to look after the SA core in the town. After three years they moved to Cheltenham but had already decided where they would like to retire. In 1988 they moved back, after 26 years’ work for the SA.

Mr Lambert continued to work with people for 15 years as manager of Sampford Care Home in Melksham. He then worked with people with learning difficulties for home care service providers Dimensions and Innovations in Marlborough.

He retired last year after 57 years of unbroken employment because he had developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and needs an oxygen tank.

“Even though he knows he hasn’t got long to live he never complains,” said Mrs Lambert.

She is now her husband’s carer, and he said: “I couldn’t wish for a better one. I couldn’t see myself being married to anyone else.”

Mrs Lambert said they had much to be grateful for, as they have six grandchildren and four children: Mark, Sharon, Paul and David. Maternity nurse Sharon Lambert, 48, and postman David Lambert, 44, still live in Chippenham.

The couple will celebrate on Saturday with about 60 guests, including Mr Lambert’s last boss, at a hotel near Bath where they will stay in the bridal suite.

“Bill has never been a party-goer, but he said to me ‘let’s have a party’. I nearly fell on the floor!” said Mrs Lambert.

“Normally I’d be happier going to the chippy, but I’m looking forward to it,” said Mr Lambert.

On the secret to their happy marriage, Mrs Lambert said: “We always talk things over before we do anything. We’ve always shared everything.”