A WELL-known retired York football referee is today celebrating 60 years of wedding bliss.

Donald and Joan Thorpe were married on July 24, 1954, at St Luke's Church in her native Grimethorpe near Barnsley, and set up life together in Yearsley Grove, York, where they still live.

Mr Thorpe played for York RI in the 1940s and 1950s before becoming a football referee until he was 70. By the time he hung up his whistle, he had also taken up running to keep fit, completing the Great North Run, three London Marathons and many other races.

In two London Marathons, he was accompanied by his wife, who took up running from the age of 57 to 68. He finally stopped running when he was 75.

The couple put the success of their marriage down to talking through any problems and working together.

They first met in 1952 when he was doing his national service and she was a second year student nurse at the County Hospital opposite Fulford Barracks near Alma Terrace where he was born.

Mr Thorpe had six brothers and two sisters, all of whom featured on the long-running BBC Radio Four programme "Down Your Way" as York's largest family.

Mrs Thorpe worked as a nurse except when bringing up their three children, Paul, Ann and Bryan, and retired as a staff nurse at the former Bungalow Hospital in Huntington.

Mr Thorpe worked as a French polisher for British Railways and Eborcraft before moving to Rowntrees factory, where he worked until his retirement. They have six grandchildren.