A COUPLE that have spent their lives in the South Hams celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary with family and friends this week.

Sylvia and Spencer Evans were married at St Petroc Church in South Brent on Saturday, May 19 1956. Sylvia was a South Brent girl, while Spencer had been born in Modbury.

60 years later, though both admit they have ’had their ups and downs’, the couple are still happily married and have lived and worked within a couple of miles of Modbury all their lives. They have brought up four children – Peter, Barry, Maxine, now Webster, and Mandy, now Eldridge – and been blessed with two grandchildren and two great-grandaughters

Spencer’s first job was as an apprentice, building the new Kingsbridge school in the 1940s. He went on to work in Slapton and Torcross repairing buildings shelled by US forces training in the area, but was forced to leave the trade when his father died aged 44, making the teenage Spencer the main breadwinner of the household.

The family was given 12 months free rent in their cottage at Whympston Farm, and Spencer started work there in 1946. Working his way up to head herdsman, he remained there until 1987, when owner The Coop sold all its farms.

Out of work for just one week, Spencer became the barman at a holiday park at South Leigh, now The Thatches Holiday Village, and after retirement continued to tend people’s gardens in the area.

Sylvia, a manager at Coop in Modbury and Yealmpton before going into the care sector remembers the dancing classes at Avonwick where the couple met, Spencer arriving by motorbike. But she said the area ’has not changed too much’ over the years, although Spencer’s failing vision – he lost his sight three years ago – has meant a change in lifestyle for them.

The couple had celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a Mediterranean cruise, and recently enjoyed a week’s holiday in Cornwall with family. They plan to celebrate on Thursday, May 19 with friends and family, and a message of congratulations from the Queen.