LAUGHTER and joy still play a big part in the marriage of a happy couple - 60 years after they took their wedding vows.

Flo and Jim Hughes, both 80, are celebrating their diamond anniversary on a weekend in Southport with their family.

The former councillors, who both served as mayors in Winsford, treasure the time they spend with their four daughters, five grandchildren and great grandson.

The couple, from Liverpool, recalled their first date at the pictures whilst Jim was home on leave from the Royal Navy.

"We lived in the next road to one another," said Flo, who worked in offices. "When he went back to sea we wrote love letters and got married 18 months later."

Jim enlisted when he was only 15 and became a marine electrician.

"I enjoyed every minute of it," he said. "I sailed all over the world on various ships. I got a medal following the Suez Crisis."

The pair moved to Winsford with their family in 1970. Jim joined the Post Office when he left the navy and then they both worked for a computer manufacturer.

The couple became Labour councillors, representing Wharton and Swanlow for almost 20 years.

Jim served as mayor in 2000 and Flo held the chain of office twice in 2002 and 2005.

Jim said: "I'd always been interested in fighting for people's rights everywhere I worked. I was a shop steward.

"I enjoyed being mayor. It was very rewarding although it was hard work. We both raised money for charity. I chose the Neuromuscular Centre and Flo supported Mind."

Flo said: "I enjoyed it very much, meeting other people and mayors from other areas."

Flo, who has asthma, had to retire from public service after becoming ill whilst on holiday in Turkey.

"I took bad whilst I was up in the mountains where the air was very thin," she said. "I was in intensive care at Leighton Hospital and ended up on oxygen for the past 10 years. I can still go out walking every day but it does restrict you in some ways. I can't go abroad which I miss."

The couple say give and take is the recipe for a long lasting happy relationship.

Flo added: "We are smiling because we are always happy. You've got to respect each other's point of view and agree to disagree."