A BLACKBIRD Leys couple celebrating 50 years of marriage have proved it doesn't always have to be love at first sight to last.

John and June Smith went dancing in Percy Street, Oxford, in 1962 as a blind date when they were both the tender age of 16 - but didn't hit it off.

Now celebrating their golden anniversary, the pair recalled how they crossed paths again in 1965 at a wedding, where June Eaton was a bridesmaid.

Mrs Smith, who was born in Cowley Road, said of their first date: "All I remember is he wore black suede winklepicker shoes. I was surprised when he got back in touch."

Less than a year later the pair married at the registry office in Banbury Road after a battle to get permission from Mr Smith's 'very Victorian' father at Oxford County Court.

They began with a grand total of £18 between them and over the decades lived between Oxford and Kent, settling in Merlin Road 23 years ago.

Now 70 and retired, Mr Smith has worked as a bus driver for Oxford Bus Company, a gasman, a kitchen porter at Littlemore Hospital and at the BMW plant.

Mrs Smith, worked at Holywell Press before holding down jobs at St Hugh's, Christ Church and Keble Colleges, and finally as senior common room butler at Somerville.

Today the couple, who have two grown-up children, are looking forward to an anniversary party in Iffley Village surrounded by friends and family.

In their 50 years together, the couple are certain they have never argued. Mr Smith said: "I feel very lucky. You've got to get along with each other."