IT STARTED with a chance encounter involving a lost motorcyclist looking for the Cowley Road.

Now more than 60 years later Joan and Wilf Lang are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

The Blackbird Leys couple were married at St Nicholas Church in Old Marston on March, 8, 1958.

Mrs Lang, 79. said the secret of a long and happy marriage was as simple as being there for each other whenever help is needed.

The couple met by chance in Littlemore, where Mrs Lang was born, when she was walking from her friends house to meet her then boyfriend.

She said: "I was walking down the road when a motorcyclist stopped beside me.

"He asked if I could show him the way to the Cowley Road so I jumped on the back and off we went.

"Later it turned out that he had known the way all along and it was all just an excuse to talk to me.

"I was 16 at the time and he was 21 and we were married three years later.

"I think I was attracted to him because he was older, I wasn't interested in boys my age.

"I never saw the boyfriend again."

The couple moved to the estate more than a half a century ago and raised two daughters, Bev and Jane, and recently became great-grandparents.

They have a shared interest in gardening and going to auctions to look at the antiques.

Mr Lang, 85, who was completing his national service at the time the couple met, went on to work until he was 80 as a lorry driver and then a processor in a scrapyard.

His early life was spent in a children's home meaning little is known about his background.

Mrs Lang enjoyed a long career working in marketing research for A.C. Nielsen, based in Headington.

She said that despite poor health in recent years they had both been determined to reach the milestone.

She added: "Not many people reach the diamond anniversary so I am really proud to have achieved it but it doesn't seem like 60 years.

"He has always been very quiet whilst I was always the loud one in the family but we are both homebirds and family is the most important thing for each of us."

It was a double celebration this week as Mrs Lang celebrated her birthday on Tuesday.

The couple will frame their letter from the queen and are planning to go out for a meal over the weekend to celebrate.