IN a true sign of the pandemic times we live in devoted couple Gordon and Shirley Hetherington celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary by getting a second Covid-19 vaccination, and couldn’t think of a better way to mark 60 years together.

All importantly it brings the couple closer to seeing their family again. "We are really looking forward to being able to see our three children and six grandchildren and we feel that the vaccination programme is vital in making this possible," said Gordon.

"That’s why we had no hesitation in accepting the appointments for the second vaccination, even though it coincided with our Diamond Anniversary," he added.

Mr Hetherington, 83, a personal injury lawyer and former Deputy Coroner for Cleveland and Hartlepool for over 30 years and Shirley, 86, a former teacher and ceramic artist, are from Middlesbrough and now live in Great Ayton.

They had originally hoped to have a family get together for their anniversary, but Covid-19 restrictions have meant that wasn't possible. They're now planning with restrictions easing to at least meet their daughter who lives in Robin Hoods Bay, outside.

"We have put the celebrations on hold, so going to the vaccination centre was not a problem. We have been very impressed with how the Forum have carried them out, it's really well organised.," added Gordon.

The couple are looking forward to getting back to their busy life before the pandemic. Gordon's a keen writer, currently working on his memoirs, after his father Joe, who was a reporter in Bishop Auckland and Middlesbrough for the Northern Echo failed to leave his, despite appeals from Gordon. Shirley is still a keen ceramicist and member of the Northern Potters Association.

He says they believe the secret to a long and happy marriage even during a pandemic is:"give and take and healthy arguments."

NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group have applauded the couple for spending their important day getting a vaccination and called on people who haven't had theirs to come forward.

Amanda Bloor, Accountable Officer said: "We are determined that nobody should be left behind. The vaccine is safe, simple, and will offer you and those around you crucial protection against this virus."