DESPITE a shoestring wedding in which the bride’s dress was bought with coupons, one thing there has been an abundance of throughout Edna and Stanley Ponting’s 70-year marriage is love.

The childhood sweethearts celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary tomorrow (Friday) and claim the only secret to going the distance is "true love".

The lifelong Cirencester residents were both born in Watermoor and met as youngsters during the mid-1930s following the outbreak of World War Two.

Stanley, 91, had been educated at the old County Junior Boys School in Lewis Lane while Edna, 89, attended Watermoor Primary School before going on to work at the former Mrs Wheeler’s Woolshop in Cricklade Street.

Stanley left school to become an apprentice electrician with Williams and Ford in Querns Lane and worked at Kemble Aerodrome 5MU while the platinum lovebirds were dating.

When the couple wed at Cirencester Parish Church in 1942 the ceremony was by no means a lavish spectacle.

Edna recalls: "My friends and colleagues all gave me their clothing coupons so that I could be married in a white wedding dress, which was unusual during wartime."

After they were married Edna left work to look after the home in Victoria Road and remained there to raise children Ruth and Richard, while also being an active member of the Mothers’ Union.

Stanley, a founder member of the Beeches Cricket Club, secured a job in aircraft design and worked on Lancaster Bombers, Harrier Jump Jets and the Concorde. He joined the Dowty Group and travelled to and from Cheltenham for 40 years until 1985 when, as chief systems approvals engineer, he retired.

Edna and Stanley now both enjoy being members of the Barton Senior Citizens Club at Watermoor Church Hall where they relish catching up with old friends "They could teach the younger generations a thing or too, because they met amid the deprivations of wartime Britain and have enjoyed a very long and happy marriage," said daughter Ruth Hutchings.

The family including the couple’s five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren will gather in Cirencester this weekend for an anniversary lunch. And the couple were also delighted to receive a card from the Queen congratulating them on their the rare milestone..