LONDON lad Charles Wimbledon was sent to a village near Devizes to escape the Blitz in London and made such good friends that when he and his wife retired they made their home nearby.

This week Mr Wimbledon and his wife June had a double reason to celebrate as he had his 90th birthday and their marked 70 years of married life on the same day.

The couple, who live in West Lavington, near Devizes, held a party in The Churchill at the weekend before celebrating their platinum day on Tuesday with guests that included relatives from the farm he stayed as an evacuee in Great Cheverell.

Mr Wimbledon met his wife-to-be when they worked for the same company in North Kensington. But as he was a joiner and she was in the office he had to make his move when they were going on a company outing to the seaside.

Mrs Wimbledon, 86, said: “The office workers had to travel on a different coach but when we were getting on he spoke to me and we agreed to go on a date.”

She was just 15 but her parents approved of their relationship and they were married in Kensington Register office on July 31, 1948 when she was 16 and Mr Wimbledon was celebrating his 20th birthday.

He said: “We were young but we knew we wanted to be together.” They spent their honeymoon in Great Cheverell where Mr Wimbledon had been evacuated to to stay with the Wilshin family during the Second World War.

Mr Wimbledon, who loved a variety of sports, played for village sides while he was in Great Cheverell and in later life became a top pigeon racer.

While living at the Wilshins’ dairy farm he used to help deliver the milk in Devizes and surrounding villages. After their wedding the couple settled in London and had a son, Barry.

In 1996 Mrs Wimbledon and her elderly mother moved to Wiltshire and then after his retirement Mr Wimbledon and Barry joined them.

Mr Wimbledon became involved on the committee of the Conservative constituency party and they both settled into village life.

Mrs Wimbledon said: “We are very lucky that we both still have our health and we are able to get out and about. We love living here.”

Mr Wimbledon said: “When I first came down I was just 11 and I travelled on the train by myself. I didn’t know what to expect.

“When he was 14 he returned to London to work but never forgot the village that had made him so welcome.”