SWEETHEARTS, who sent each other devoted love letters most days during the war, are now celebrating their 60th anniversary.

Bill and Sylvia Garwood, both 81, from Rayleigh, first met when they were just 17 on a night out at the Ilford Palais in East London.

Bill fondly recalled: “We were both out dancing with friends, and I remember thinking how much I fancied her. I more or less knew she was the one for me, it was love at first sight really.

“We clicked straight away.”

After being together for a year, Bill who was a trainee gas engineer at the time, went into the army as part of the national service, where the couple would regularly send each other adoring love letters.

He continued: “We missed each other terribly when I was serving in Germany.

“We would send letters near enough every day, so we never lost touch.

“It was a hard time, but we got through it. I came home as much as I could to see her.

“I finished in the national service at age 20, and by the time we were 21 we’d already married. We’ve been together ever since.”

The happy couple married at the St Johns Church, in Stratford, on August 1. 60 Sixty years later they now have two children, Jason and Mark, and four grandchildren.

Bill continued: “The best part of our wedding day was seeing my beautiful bride coming down the aisle. She looked stunning.

“We knew we wanted to start a family, so it was very exciting when we found out we were having Mark. Jason followed not long after, I was in my early thirties at the time.

“Some of our greatest memories over the years have been from touring over England and Europe with members of our caravan club. We’ve both been involved for about 40 years now and have always travelled together.

“Our secret to a long and happy marriage is to remain grateful for each other. We have arguments like everyone, but we’re still really happy together.”

Sylvia and Bill will be going out to celebrate their anniversary with friends and family on Saturday.