WHEN Ron and Vera Nowell tied the knot 50 years ago, it was a quiet affair, with four guests at a ceremony at Darlington register office.

The couple made amends by celebrating their golden wedding anniversary with a renewal of their marriage vows in church and a big party.

Mrs Nowell, 68, said: "We were married so quietly in the first place because Ronnie is from Wales and none of his family could come up."

Mrs Nowell (nee Lodge), a retired florist, met her husband when he was stationed at Catterick with the Royal Signals. He was a friend of her brother Kenneth.

The couple have two children, Brinley, 48, and Shirley, 42, and four grandchildren.

Mr Nowell, 70, worked in The Northern Echo as a press assistant for 30 years.

He said: "To me, married life is marvellous. I have had a really good 50 years. We have worked as a team. I'm a very lucky man."

The couple, who live in Redworth Road, renewed their vows at St Mary's Church in Cockerton.