A couple from Botley celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary yesterday after falling in love at a city factory.

Jim Chatting, from Chestnut Road, said it was love at first sight when he caught a glimpse of Joan as she worked at Morris Motors more than 60 years ago.

Fate threw the two 17 year-olds together when Mr Chatting was evacuated from London during the Second World War to stay with relatives in the city and got a job at the Cowley factory.

Mr Chatting said: “I worked in stock control at the time. It sounds silly to say it, but as soon as I saw her I thought ‘that’s the girl for me’.

“Then I went to visit her and her family in Chislehampton and that, as they say, was that.”

But the couple were torn apart when Mr Chatting was drafted into the Navy the year the war ended in a national drive to keep the forces up, while Mrs Chatting stayed to work in an Oxford University laboratory.

As soon as he returned, the couple married in St Francis of Assisi Church in Hollow Way, on November 20, 1948 — a date they picked so they could share their anniversary with the Queen and Prince Philip — and never forget it.

According to Mr and Mrs Chatting, who are now both 81, some of their fondest memories are from the time they spent living in a caravan in North Hinksey village while they waited for their current home to be built.

Mr Chatting said: “It was very hard to get a mortgage in those days, a bit like now really, so we saved and spent months in a little caravan together. They were very happy times.

“We do all sorts of things together, we like to help each other with crosswords, and Joan just loves to read.

“We often have a little joke that I’m her toy boy, because I’m a couple of months younger than her. But most importantly, we never go to bed on an argument.

“I’m not sure if it’s the key to a happy marriage, but it works for us.”

Mrs Chatting added: “If we ever disagree about something, we talk about it until we have found a solution. My husband is kind and generous and helps me do the things I can’t manage because of my arthritis.”

The couple have four children, Derek, Edward, Donna and Peter — and five grandchildren.