A County Durham couple have experienced a platinum wedding anniversary they will never forget after they received over 200 cards from friends and strangers.

Seaham lovebirds William, aged 94, and Irene, aged 95, tied the knot on September 12, 1953, and this year marked their 70th wedding anniversary.

The couple live at Sanctuary Care's Cedar Court Residential and Nursing Home, and after a staff appeal for cards, the pair were flooded with over 200 on their special day.

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The Northern Echo: William (Billy), aged 94, and Irene Spence, aged 95William (Billy), aged 94, and Irene Spence, aged 95 (Image: CEDAR COURT RESIDENTIAL AND NURSING HOME)

Irene admitted the influx of congratulations and well wishes was initially a shock.

She said: "We are over the moon with the cards we’ve been sent, we can’t quite believe it!

"The delivery came as a huge surprise and made our anniversary very special indeed.

"Billy and I are so grateful to the team at Cedar Court for always being there for us and helping to make every day enjoyable." 

Pictures of the happy couple show them at the home proudly holding their cards sent to them to mark the momentous occasion.

The Northern Echo: Billy and Irene on their wedding day in 1953.Billy and Irene on their wedding day in 1953. (Image: CEDAR COURT RESIDENTIAL AND NURSING HOME)

Billy moved into Cedar Court Residential and Nursing Home in September 2022 after Irene struggled to manage his care at home.

However, she visited Billy every day, bringing his favourite packed lunch to enjoy during their afternoons together but 3 months later decided to move in to the home.

They have been "inseparable" ever since.

Keeley Bland, manager at Cedar Court Residential and Nursing Home, praised the generosity of the public for Billy and Irene's special day. 

She said: "We are overwhelmed by the fantastic response from the local community and the generous people who sent Billy and Irene an anniversary card. 

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"They are a lovely couple whose special bond warm hearts around our home. They have the kind of love that many of us can only dream of. 

"Our team at Cedar Court often feel more like a family, and like any family, we do everything we can to enrich our residents’ lives and make them smile.  

"Celebrating significant milestones and special occasions is just one way that we can ensure  our residents feel happy and fulfilled whilst living in our home."