A double celebration is taking place in a bowls club as two couples mark their diamond wedding anniversaries.

The Lavers Carpet Bowls Club members John and Audrey Doy, of The Johns, Ongar, marked 60 years of marriage yesterday, while fellow members Una and Fred Bard, of Perryfield, Matching Green, have their anniversary on Valentine’s Day.

Mr Doy, 81, said: “We’re very much involved in carpet bowls.

“It’s very relaxing and we have made some wonderful friends with the bowling matches, including Fred and Una.

“My wife and I enjoy the bowls together and there’s a lot of give and take. That’s what it’s all about.”

He and Mrs Doy, 82, met in 1952 during a party at the King’s Head pub in Chigwell hosted by Mr Doy’s football club, the Loughton Youth centre Old Boys.

They married just six months later at St John’s church in Buckhurst Hill and moved to South Woodford and Great Dunmow, before settling in Ongar 18 years ago.

They have two sons, Keith and Kevin, and four grandchildren.

Mr and Mrs Bard first met at primary school, getting to know each other while they worked for a baker’s in Potter Street, near Harlow, where they grew up.

One of the stops on Mr Bard’s round was the wife of a partner at Walter Lyle solicitors in Loughton, who told him he should go for an apprenticeship there.

He worked his way up through the company, taking evening classes, became a solicitor and was a partner by the time he retired 20 years ago, aged 65.

Mrs Bard, 83, said: “We’ve always supported each other – if there are good times, it’s lovely and if it’s bad, you've got to be there for each other.”

They have a daughter, Anne, a son, Paul, and three grandchildren.

Both couples plan to celebrate together with other bowls club members on Tuesday.