CaptureA couple who enjoyed their first date at a dance hall in Stanley 64 years ago have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Former Middlesbrough FC player Joe Birbeck, 83, and his wife Edna, 82, marked with occasion with a family get together – and a surprise visit from Cllr Jan Blakey, chairman of Durham County Council.

Cllr Blakey popped in to congratulate the couple on their 60 years of marriage and present them with a bouquet of flowers.

The couple, who went to the same school together in South Moor, got together at local dance at Castles Dance Hall, in 1951.

Joe made his name as a professional footballer, playing for Middlesbrough during the 1950s alongside team mates including Bobby Robson and Brian Clough.

Edna meanwhile was well-known as a shop worker in Broughs – which became Liptons – in Stanley, and later as a cleaner at East Stanley Primary School.

The couple have two daughters, Sandra and Elizabeth, four grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

Cllr Blakey said: “I was delighted to meet Mr and Mrs Birbeck and to pass on my warmest congratulations to them on their 60th wedding anniversary”