A DIAMOND couple from Gourock are still sparkling after 60 years of wedded bliss.

Childhood sweethearts Archie and Margaret Birt, from Hilltop Road, tied the knot six decades ago.

They were honoured with a special message from the Queen, read out by vice Lord Lieutenant of Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, Colonel Peter McCarthy.

The couple married on May 10 in 1958 at St Ninian's Church, which they revisited on Thursday for a special blessing.

They have four grown-up children, spread across Greenock, Linlithgow and Surrey, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Archie said: "I met Margaret at a party in her house in Nelson Road when I was fourteen and she was sixteen.

"It was a childhood romance.

"We married six years later and I suppose you say the rest is history."

Margaret added: "He's my toyboy.

"We've been very fortunate and have lots of happy memories.

"We're both interested in what each other is doing and, as far as we were able to, we got involved with what each other was doing."

Archie, 81, grew up in Lyle Street, Greenock, steeped in his family's coal business.

He went on to work on the railways and became a press officer for ScotRail having gained an Open University degree.

His dad died of tuberculosis aged just 38 and he himself later contracted it, spending six months in hospital.

Thankfully it had no long-lasting impact on his health and he continued running until very recently.

Archie said: "I jogged until I was 80 - for 40 years - and I went round the graveyard, that was my route.

"People used to ask 'why there' and I said 'that's where all my friends are'."

Wife Margaret, 83, had a job in a plumber's office on West Stewart Street and then stayed at home to raise their four children.

She later followed in her husband's footsteps by gaining an OU degree and went on to become an ardent community campaigner, inspired by their son David, who has Down's Syndrome.

Margaret helped win the fight for a dedicated school at Lilybank for youngsters with additional support needs, was a supporter of the Fitzgerald Centre and volunteered with the Inverclyde Carers' Council, winning a Queen's Award in 2004.

As well as a visit and flowers from the Lord Lieutenant's office, the happy couple have been inundated with messages of goodwill and several more bouquets, including from Inverclyde's provost.

Mr McCarthy said: "To get to sixty years is quite an achievement - and rare enough to be celebrated and recognised in the Telegraph."