KEEPING fit and healthy has helped a couple to stay young at heart.

Energetic Geoff Dale, 82, and Val, 77, from Barnton, are celebrating their diamond wedding.

Geoff swims 80 lengths in the pool at Brio Leisure six mornings a week and Val still works as a healthcare assistant in the clinics at Knutsford Community Hospital.

The pair are keen bowlers and compete in teams at Owley Wood three times a week, enjoying the company of their friends.

"You've got to keep your mind active," said Val, who swims twice a week and loves her job. "One of the orthopaedic consultants told me that swimming is the best exercise you can do."

"I just enjoy my job. I like working with consultants and being with patients. I've gradually cut down to 10 hours a week. While I'm still fit and able, I'll keep on going."

Val worked at Broadhurst biscuit factory for nine years until it closed down and then started a career in nursing at Macclesfield District General Hospital, where she looked after patients for 25 years.

The couple met when they were both working at a local laundry. Geoff was a driver and Val worked on the presses and their first date was at the pictures.

The couple married at Holy Trinity Church in Castle and have three children Andrea, Ian and Nigel, five grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Knutsford Guardian:

Geoff and Val Dale got married at Holy Trinity Church in Castle 60 years ago

Geoff enlisted in the Royal Navy as a gunner when he was 18 and served in Australia, the Middle East and the Far East.

"I've still got my first pay slip," said Geoff. "I was paid four shillings a day!"

Geoff worked as a long distance lorry driver, travelling all over the country and often spending weekdays on the road, until he retired when he was 65.

"It makes you really appreciate coming home," he said.

The couple love travelling and have enjoyed holidays abroad every year, exploring countries like Hong Kong and visiting Disneyland in Florida with their grandchildren.

Their favourite island is Menorca.

"We stay in a lovely place where there is bowls, tennis, gym, cycling and walking," said Geoff. They are looking forward to visiting Scotland and Zante this year.

Sharing 60 happy years together, they say, requires commitment, understanding, support and patience.

Val said: "You've got to give and take and work together. Be there for one another."

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Geoff paid tribute to Val's dedication to nursing. He said: "She does really well. It keeps her brain active and she meets lots of different people. She is appreciated and often receives a little card or bunch of flowers as gifts from patients."

The couple will celebrate their diamond wedding at a special meal with their family.