A CHADWELL St Mary couple who met for a bet are celebrating 60 years of marriage.

John Hale, 85, and wife Brenda, 79, of Alf Loewen Court, Loewen Road, celebrated their diamond anniversary on Friday April 27.

And they got a trans-atlantic visit from their only son, Geoffrey, 58, and his wife from Texas in the United States of America.

They plan to spend a week reminiscing on the sea-front at Eastbourne - but it could have all been so different if not for a bet some 60 years ago.

Mrs Hale recalls: "I was the eldest of five sisters and I had a lovely maiden name of Brenda Batty. Older people in Grays may remember the big furniture store where I worked called Horncastle on the High Street next to the CoE church.

"John was with a friend looking in the window at some records, he was 22 at the time and in the Army. My boss bet me half a crown that I couldn't entice the lads into the shop and he was right- I didn't.

"But I told Mr Horncastle don't worry he'll be back - and I was right."

They were married at the Church of England church on Victoria Avenue, Grays and have two grandsons David, 28, and John, 26, and a granddaughter Ruth, 23, who live in Texas.

Mr Hale worked for 35 years at the Thames Case paper mill in Purfleet as a laboratory assistant.

As a gambling lady, Mrs Hale tipped marriages to last between couples who "don't go to bed on an argument."

pass on your congratulations to John and Brenda below.