TEENAGE sweethearts Jim and Stella Purdy have just celebrated 60 years of married life.

The couple met in the sergeant’s mess as 18-year-old Stella was serving as a private in the woman’s royal army core and Jim was a sergeant in the royal signals which were based at Figsbury camp in Winterbourne Gunner, near Salisbury.

Little did they know that one night of playing snooker and socialising would just a few months later see them embarking on a lifelong journey together.

Jim proposed with a ring which cost £4.10 and they married at the registry office in Salisbury.

Six decades later, they celebrated their lifelong love for each other by reuniting at Ridgeway Rise care home as lockdown restrictions allowed Jim to visit Stella at long last.

They enjoyed the day while joined by their three sons James, Andrew and David, and held hands as they looked back on happy memories.

Stella said: “My motto has always been go as far as you can, while you can! We’ve travelled and lived all over the world, in Catterick in Yorkshire, Singapore and Germany.

“Jim loved building and riding motorcycles – I often rode in the sidecar with him!”

On their special day, their friends at Ridgeway Rise and close relatives organised a surprise party for the couple, with an anniversary cake, balloons and decorations, a card from the Queen. Everyone raised glasses of champagne in a toast to their love.

Son David said: “Seeing my mum and dad together after all that’s been going on and watching them holding hands after 60 years brought a tear to my eyes.”

His brother Andrew added: “Seeing mum and dad looking so well and in good spirits was a great tonic for what we have all been through in the last year.”

Sibling Jim said: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone – from the ladies in pink, all the staff and of course the chef – for making that day so memorable’.

Care home staff were thrilled to properly honour this special occasion.

General manager Bella Balaci wished the couple many more happy years, together and said: “It’s such an honour to be a part of this special occasion.

“Watching Jim and Stella looking lovingly into each other’s eyes after six decades of sharing ups and downs of life really shows that, just like diamonds, love can be truly enduring and unconquerable.”

As well as their three children, the Purdys have grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-greatgrandchildren.