LOVE, sharing and a family is the key to a successful marriage according to Ted and Marian Giddings who celebrated their blue sapphire wedding anniversary yesterday.

The couple, of Edwardian Court, Pewsey, met on a blind date 69 years ago when Mr Giddings, 89, was in the Navy and Mrs Giddings, 87, was training as a nurse near Newcastle.

Mr and Mrs Giddings, who have eight children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild, only went on a few dates before he sailed to Singapore after the end of the Second World War. He was gone for nine months but they wrote to each other and Mr Giddings kept a picture of his future wife under his hat.

He said: “Our grandchildren are just as good as our children, they run round looking after us. We’re lucky, I don’t think we would have made it to this age without them.

“A little time ago one of the girls said to Marian ‘if you could do your time again would you change anything?’ and she said ‘no, I wouldn’t’ and that’s marvellous.”

They married in Cheshire where Mrs Giddings was brought up. Their first home in Wiltshire was in Coulston, near Westbury, before they moved to Erlestoke, then living in Sussex for six months, moving to Beechingstoke in 1958 and settling in Pewsey in 2004.

After leaving the Navy Mr Giddings completed his apprenticeship at a garage in Hilcot, later becoming a civil engineer before becoming an AA man, which he was for 30 years. He spent the end of his career working for his daughter’s nursery in Easterton.

Mrs Giddings nursed in Salisbury, Pewsey, Westbury and Devizes.