MARRIED life has been a dance through sixty happy years for Ledbury's Diamond Wedding Couple, Michael and Joan Walker.

When the couple first set eyes on each other, during a dance at Broomsgreen Village Hall, in 1953, Joan was the keen dancer and Michael could not dance a step.

But since then, - and following their marriage at the old Bank Crescent Registry Office, on August 12, 1954, - ballroom and Latin America has been a continual shared passion, and one that led the Walkers to the British Championships in Blackpool.

They competed at this high level for four years, getting to the fourth round at the Winter Gardens, as their top placement.

And the Walkers still dance, at least four times a week, at venues all around the three counties.

On Tuesday this week, they opened a card from the Queen and celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

Mrs Walker, aged 77, and Mr Walker, aged 79, spent the early part of their married life in Putley Green, before they bought a plot of land for £150 in Oatleys Road, Ledbury, in 1959, and Mr Walker built a house.

The couple were both to make a mark on Ledbury life.

Mr Walker worked for 27 years at the Gloucester Foundry and, in later life, set up his own business, in metalwork.

He made all eighty metal flower standards which are still such a noticeable feature of Ledbury town centre, as well as the flagpoles on the shops and the hanging baskets in Church Lane.

Mrs Walker worked for more that 24 years at the old Ledbury Cottage Hospital, keeping everything spic and span.

They have two children, Pam and Graham.

Graham Walker, Town and Country, was given the task, several years ago, of precision lifting Ledbury's Market House, so the wooden pillars and bases could be repaired.

Mr Walker helped his son by doing the welding on the lifting beams, which coped admirably.

Mrs Walker is a keen charity fund-raiser, selling cards for Cancer Research and collecting for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

The couple have seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

Mrs Walker joked:"No wonder we're grey!"

When asked what was the secret of a long and happy marriage, the couple agreed, "Work as a team."