A PILGRIMAGE to Lourdes and a chance encounter on a Scottish street led to a love story that has endured for more than six decades.

Betty and Philip Magurn, who celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary tomorrow (Saturday, May 17) met during a trip to Lourdes in 1952, though it was far from love at first sight.

“I didn’t like him at first, I thought he was a pain,” says former nurse, Mrs Magurn, as the couple lovingly bicker their way through an interview at their Darlington home.

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Months after their first meeting, Mr Magurn travelled to Mrs Magurn’s home town of Paisley and, by chance, spotted his future wife in the street.

Using a mix of charm and perseverance, the RAF serviceman eventually won her affections and proposed shortly before being posted to Egypt.

The pair enjoyed a church wedding in 1954 before travelling the world together and having five children – Brenda, Peter, Angela, Philip and Paul, a missionary priest who died at 33.

Talented golfer and former captain of Darlington Golf Club, Mr Magurn describes married life as perfect though his wife disagrees.

She said: “Nothing is perfect but we have been very lucky and have enjoyed each other and our life together.

“When people say they never argue, I don’t believe them. People have differences and there can be cross words.

“Our secret is that we never go to bed on an argument, we try hard and have always given each other space to do our own thing.”

Mr Magurn added: “We’ve been lucky and our children are wonderful.

“I would tell any young couple to try hard and think about the things that are really important in life.”

The couple will celebrate their special occasion with a family meal at their favourite restaurant, Sardi’s in Darlington.