THE SECRET to a long marriage is not knowing what the future brings and looking out for everyone else, according to a couple celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today.

Frank and Betty Hawker, both aged 81, met when they were just 10 years old when Betty moved from Southampton during the Second World War.

“Her father had been killed in the war and they lived in the bombings for a while before her mother met and befriended a man from Worcester and moved up here with her mother and her sister,” said Mr Hawker. “She lived in shelters for a while before she moved in just three doors away from me. She was just 10 then.

“We grew up in the same road and went to the same school. I used to give her love letters on the way to school and bits of chocolate and ribbons and of course then we were sweethearts.”

After having their first date when they were 16, and getting engaged when they were 18, Mr Hawker had a three-year stint in the RAF where he was posted to Oxfordshire and the couple were forced to write to each other every day.

“I returned on the Thursday and we were married on the Saturday,” he said.

The pair, who live in Willowslea Road, Northwick, were married at St Barnabas Church and went on to have three children – Ian, Linda and Sandra – before a fourth joined their family – Angela, now 53 – when her mother died when she was 12.

They also took in a two-and-a-half-year-old and a 10-month old for eight months to help a family friend.

Mr Hawker, who last worked at Electrolux selling freezers, has always volunteered his time to the community, starting when he was volunteering for Victoria Hospital in Powick.

“I used to go and visit the patients every week at the hospital when it was open and Betty would cook for them when I brought them home for tea,” said Mr Hawker.

He continued to visit people in their homes and bungalows after the hospital closed and despite having celebrated his 81st birthday this year, he still serves his community.

“I take a lady shopping to the Co-op every Tuesday, get a man his paper every morning who can’t get out and visit someone else every Friday. “Betty, who used to work as a seamstress sewing nylon, also does the washing every Tuesday for a man since his wife died eight years ago.

“Also, last Chistmas was the 38th Christmas that I have dressed up as Santa and visited everyone in our road. “I walk down the street, ringing a bell, waking everyone up on Christmas morning and people wave to me and the children come out and thank me for their presents.”