A COUPLE who have devoted their lives to public and community service and are stalwarts of the Conservative Party are aptly celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary on General Election day.

Devizes town councillor John Stevens and his wife Mary both grew up in Swindon but moved to Devizes 19 years ago and were among the first people to buy a converted property at the old Roundway Hospital.

Mr Stevens, who is a former Mayor and Alderman of the old Swindon Borough Council and his wife, who is a former magistrate, school governor, guide district commissioner and leading light of the Citizen Advice Bureau in Swindon, have both been honoured by the Queen.

Mr Stevens is a CBE and Mrs Stevens was awarded the OBE.

The pair, who met a a church youth club in Swindon, were married on December 12, 1959 at Christ Church in Old Town, Swindon.

Mrs Stevens, 85, said: “We did not have children but both of us were very keen to do our bit for the community and in public life. I was Mayoress on several occasions when John was Mayor and I also took on a lot of voluntary work.”

The couple had to balance their lives in Wiltshire with Mr Steven’s senior role in the steel industry in Sheffield, but after his retirement decided to leave their Swindon home with its very large garden and move to what they imagined would be a quieter life in Devizes.

But they immediately threw themselves into activities at Drews Pond and became leading members of the residents’ committee.

Mr Stevens also became chairman of a fundraising group at St John’s Church, Devizes, and was then approached by the local Conservative Association to stand for Devizes Town Council. They will spend their anniversary on election duty and plan to celebrate at the weekend.