A RADCLIFFE couple who spent more than 20 years in the licensing trade are the "toast of the town" as they celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Paul and Anita Dalton ran several pubs and a golf club bar during their career as landlord and landlady.

The couple, of Mayfair Avenue, originally met when Anita was aged 14 and attended a football match where Paul was playing.

Paul, aged 83, was born and raised in Salford while 80-year-old Anita hails from Manchester.

After leaving school, Paul became an apprentice machinist at the CWS cabinet making works in Dumers Lane, Radcliffe. He spent two years in the Army during National Service and while on leave Paul and Anita became engaged. They were married in St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Higher Broughton.

The couple went on to have three children, daughters Maureen and Donna, and a son Paul, who died 11 years ago. They also have five grandchildren, four great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.

Between 1966 and 1989, they ran pubs in Burnley, Radcliffe, Little Lever and Blackburn and the bar at Swinton Park Golf Club. Later, when the pub game eventually proved too much, the couple left the licensing trade and Paul worked as a wood machinist before retiring.

In his younger days, he was a semi-professional football referee in the Cheshire County League and also served as a cricket umpire in the Bolton League for 15 years.

He recalled: "My last game was at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in the final of the all Lancashire knock-out trophy."

The couple, who have lived in Radcliffe since their marriage, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a party for family and friends at Bury's Bolholt Country Park Hotel.