Today is a very special day for one of Devizes’s most popular couples.

Ken and Avril Surman are celebrating their Diamond Wedding in a subdued fashion due to coronavirus restrictions.

Friends and family had travelled from all corners of the globe for their Golden Wedding celebrations, and their children had originally made plans for a trip to London to commemorate this occasion.

While the family is unable to come together in person today (Thursday) – a grand celebration has been planned over the Internet, as well as this surprise piece in the paper.

Anyone passing the couples’ home on Longcroft Road have also been asked to give a wee toot of their horns to join in the celebrations and a neighbour will be bringing round cake.

The couple’s children Mark, Lynne and Kerry will join the Zoom call with special appearances from various grandchildren including Darren, Daniel, Ashley, Bradley, Stephanie, Alexander and Conor.

Kerry and Conor are currently in Italy, due to Kerry’s job with the Royal Air Force.

She said: “It is horrible not to be able to see them properly, we are a big family and really close. But we’ll definitely have some sort of belated celebration when we’re allowed.

“We all just want to say a big thank you for everything Mum and Dad have done for us. They’ve always been there for us and we really are lucky to call them our parents. Hope you enjoy the surprise!”

The couple’s love story began due to good friend Dorcas Bailey.

Avril and Dorcas used to frequent the Bell at Great Cheverell, and it was on a journey there with Bath tramways that Avril spotted a very handsome man driving the Buses.

That handsome man had a girlfriend at the time, but Avril nonetheless won him over - and the rest was history.

They were married on the 26 Nov 1960 in Devizes Methodist Church in a service conducted by Reverend Lunn at 2.30pm, followed by a reception in the town hall.

But the celebrations were paused at 4.45pm for an incredibly important reason.

Attendees rushed to gather round a radio within the town hall to hear the news that… Arsenal had beaten Everton 3-2; Birmingham had lost by two goals to Leicester; Cardiff scored three against Man United…and so on and so on.

After the excitement of the wedding and reception, the newlyweds went on honeymoon to London; but it was cut short, as Ken being a good footballer, had an important football match to play.

His love of football is widely recognised in Devizes; as well as being known for driving coaches for Bodman’s and Son he also picked up an array of football trophies.

Meanwhile Avril worked extremely hard too and sometimes held down more that one job, to give her family a good start in life.

She had a variety of jobs, not to mention a contact book that would make a journalist’s mouth water, including switchboard roles at the Devizes Telephone Exchange, Roundway Hospital switchboard, Greenlane Hospital and Alzheimer’s society

It was not long after they married that small faces started to join the ranks of the Surman clan.

Lynne and Mark, Kerry and Kim recall “lots of laughter” amid their upbringing. Throughout their growing up years, they were always encouraged to bring our friends round,and the home became a hub for activity.

Before their Golden Wedding, Kim asked her parents what the secret to such a long marriage was.

Ken said, “We like to go out twice a week to a nice restaurant, for a little wine and good food;

She goes Mondays, I go Fridays.”

Then Avril said: “Having things in common, although when Man U are playing Arsenal I have to disagree;

and a good sense of humour.’

Ken added: “Liking the same things and knowing that there is no-one out there, who is any better.”