AN ALLOA couple who were told their union would "never last" celebrated 60 years of marriage last week.

Thomas and Irene Allan were wed by Rev James Clark on August 1 in 1959 at St Andrew's Church in Alloa – which is now the base of The Gate charity.

She was 18 and he was just a month short of 22 when they tied the knot, though the couple had been courting for a few years before that.

When asked if there were any objections at the time, Irene, nee Dunlop, recalled: "My dad said that we would never last, but he was often wrong."

Indeed, after 60 years, two children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren later, the Alloa couple are still happy together.

Back when they met, Thom was an apprentice baker living in the south of Alloa and later finished learning the trade in the army.

After his service concluded, the couple moved to Birmingham for some time where Thom was looking to get into the Rover factory.

But Irene, who grew up in the Hawkhill area, became homesick and so they decided to move back to Alloa, where her husband took a job at the Skol brewery for the next 38 years.

Irene worked at Weir Pumps, Don Bros and various other places around the county – "You name it, I've been there", she added.

Having arguments is part and parcel of married life, according to the diamond duo, and Thom can still recall their first one.

Not long after they returned north of the border Thom and Irene were browsing furniture.

He fancied a blue set, but her dad was a Hearts fan.

They had to settle for grey and that must have become tradition as, even today, their living room couch and armchairs sport that very colour.

As for their happiest memories together, Thom mused: "The happiest time was 1 August, 1959 – the day I was married.

"That was it though."

On a more serious note, for Irene it was the birth of the children and Thom will also remember some extraordinary holidays, by invitation, to places like Singapore and the US – where they arrived on the Queen Elizabeth II, or QE2 as many will know the vessel, and flew back on a Concorde at supersonic speeds.

On the day of the big anniversary, the couple received a visit from Provost Tina Murphy, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant Hector Nicolson, the Rev Jason Lingiah – who leads their congregation at Moncrieff UF Church – and a card from the Queen.