THIS week John and Betty Edney will be celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary - but due to the coronavirus measures, the couple will be celebrating with a night in.

John, 82, and Betty, 80, had planned to mark the occasion with a party with family and friends, but isolation restrictions mean they will put that on hold for the time being.

Instead they will enjoy a steak dinner and some champagne at home in Cannington on Thursday, April 16 - 60 years to the day since they wed in 1960.

Both John and Betty have lived in Cannington nearly all of their lives, having first met at Sunday School when they were seven and five.

Having gone through junior school together, they first started 'stepping out' as a couple when they were 15 and 17.

John was called up to for National Service, and was stationed with the RAF in Gloucester.

"Luckily this meant we kept in touch and I could get home and see Betty on weekends," John explains.

After John finished his time with the RAF, he returned to Cannington, and he and Betty got married at Cannington Church in 1960.

"It was a lovely day, we had about 70 or so family and friends there and a wonderful reception in the Village Hall," John recalls.

In their careers, John worked as a builders merchant, before becoming an estate agent in Bridgwater and eventually joining the local council's economic development team in 1985 where he worked for 15 years, while Betty's career was in accountancy.

The couple settled in Cannington and started a family, having two daughters, and they now have four grown-up grandchildren.

John and Betty have also been recognised for their selfless work on behalf of their community.

Betty was given a Somerset Chairman's Award in 2013 for her tireless work as secretary of the Parish Church, chairman and treasurer of the Young Wives Club, a PTA committee member, President and treasurer of the local branch of the WI, clerk to the Trustees of the Cannington Combined Charity and helped with the local poppy collection for 23 years.

Following retirement in 2000, John was elected as a Somerset County Councillor and went on to be chairman from 2009 to 2013. 

In 2018 he was recognised as an Honorary Alderman of Somerset for his work on behalf of the community. 
John has a great affection for Cannington and has involved himself in many of its activities.

As they enter their seventh decade of marriage, the pair reflected on what the secret to a long and happy marriage is.

"I think it is about friendship as well as love, and it requires give and take," John said.

"Never say never as well - we have always found that to be sound advice."

Betty added: "We pull together and support each other, that is also very important."