Childhood sweethearts who married as teenagers are celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss in 2020.

John and Joyce Hill were even planning to renew their wedding vows this year, before the coronavirus pandemic put their plans on hold.

But the Haydon Bridge couple, who marked their diamond anniversary on April 2, enjoyed a socially-distanced celebration last month with family and friends at the Twice Brewed Inn on Hadrian’s Wall, near Bardon Mill.

“It was a shame we couldn’t renew our vows as we’d planned to,” said John. “It’s still something we’d really like to do.

“But we had a lovely time at the Twice Brewed. We stayed over and had a lovely meal, and once again we’d like to say a big thank you to the staff who made us so welcome and did such a marvellous job.”

Born and bred at Martins Close in Haydon Bridge, John helped out at Low Hall Farm during weekends from the age of 14.

There he met the daughter of farm worker Lesley Cooper. Five years later they were married at St Peter’s Church at Humshaugh, when they were both aged 19.

The couple went on to have three daughters, Kathryn Jane, Carol Ann, and Audrey Lesley.

John’s work as a dairyman saw the family enjoy spells in different parts of the North East.

After spending time on farms at Haydon Bridge, John joined the team at the Chantry in Corbridge, before moving to Morpeth and Durham.

They returned to the Tyne Valley and, after 10 years at Langley, the family moved to Haydon Bridge in 1974 and have remained in the village ever since.

John went on to become a busman, driving for R&M of Hexham, which was later taken over by Northumbria and more recently, Arriva. He served on public transport, including double deckers, before transporting schoolchildren for CT Travel.

A dedicated housewife and mother, Joyce used her domestic skills to accommodate John’s long working hours, for he also dedicated much of his spare time to serve as a special constable at weekends, nights, and covering events such as shows and fairs.

“You’ve got to take each day as it comes,” said Joyce. “We’ve had a lovely marriage and it’s nice to reach the 60-year milestone.

“While the pandemic has put things on hold, we’ve still been able to celebrate and can hopefully look forward to renewing our vows at some point when things return to normal again.”

Over the years, the couple have enjoyed family meals out and drives in the countryside, as well as spending time together at home in Haydon Bridge.