FORMER postman and his wartime bride have celebrated 60 years of marriage.

Tom Sanderson's is one of the best known faces in Tow Law, where he has lived and worked all his life.

He was serving with the Royal Navy on the hazardous North-East convoys when he grabbed four days' leave and a special licence and rushed home to marry his wife Doreen at the church of St Phillip and St James.

A mere 48 hours after the wedding, he was on his way back to his ship, which sailed for the Mediterranean and the Salerno landings.

During the 16 months they were separated, Mrs Sanderson worked in a munitions store.

After the war Mr Sanderson, now 85, went back to his old job as a miner at Inkerman, joining the Royal Mail when the pit closed.

The couple settled in their present home on the Attlee Estate and had two children Mervyn, who has his own accountancy practice in Cheltenham, and Julie Fielder from York.

They maintained their close ties with the church, where Mrs Sanderson spent 25 years as PCC secretary. She worked in the office at Homelands Hospital, Helmington Row. Her husband was captain in the Church Lads Brigade for more than 20 years.

Mr and Mrs Sanderson still enjoy sequence dancing at the Elite Hall in Crook, which is where they first met.

The Queen's diamond anniversary message was among the dozens of cards they received. The couple shared a weekend party with their family, including granddaughters Amy and Eve.