BANGOR West couple John and Linda Gardner have celebrated 60 happy years of marriage surrounded by their extended family.

They are familiar faces in the area having lived at Innisfayle Drive since it was built in 1965.

Linda is particularly well known as she worked for many years as a home help in the area, going on foot to care for others around Worcester Avenue, Old Belfast Road, Wandsworth and the Rathmore Road.

The couple first met as teenagers in 1958 when 15-year-old Linda, who lived in the Stormont area, called at the home of her friend Jean on the Newtownards Road in Belfast.

However, Jean wasn’t there and her 18-year-old brother John invited Linda inside to wait.

A few days later Jean told Linda that her brother had ‘an eye’ for her and they courted for five years before marrying on September 25, 1963.

They lived with family in east Belfast for the first two years of their marriage and then moved to Innisfayle where they brought up their three children, Elaine, Neil and John.

Says Elaine: “Mum had worked in the shipyard and the train line was just at the bottom of the road at Bangor West and that was one of the deciding factors to make them move to this side of Bangor.”

When Elaine’s eldest brother John was born in 1971 Linda left the shipyard and began working as a home help, while John worked as a refrigeration engineer.

The couple now have two grandsons, Nathan and Sam, and one granddaughter, Rebekah, who is currently in Miami on a golf scholarship.

The couple’s extended family joined Linda and John for a meal at Clandeboye Golf Club last Saturday and there was another, quieter celebration, on their actual wedding anniversary on Monday.