A ROYAL Air Force veteran and his wife were today celebrating their diamond wedding – 63 years after falling in love over the airwaves.

When Derek Simmonds phoned the telegraph office in 1947 to send a telegram, he never imagined he would end up marrying the operator, Muriel. He said: “We chatted and I asked for a date, just the old-fashioned way. I hadn’t seen her, she hadn’t seen me. I might have told her a lot of lies.”

Within three years they were married at Lidgett Grove Methodist Church, in Acomb, York.

Mrs Simmonds, 79, who lives with her husband in Stamford Bridge, said: “The first night we went out, we just went for a walk. Our first real date was the next week. I was 19 when we got married and I never looked back.”

Mr Simmonds, 82, was stationed in Rufforth with the RAF when he first spoke to his future wife in the York telegraph office in the winter of 1947.

He said: “It was a very snowy period and they closed everything down, apart from me. “I would send telegrams to airmen stationed at home and abroad.”

Previously, Mr Simmonds had been stationed with the Polish Air Force in Germany, where he worked as a clerk.

After leaving the RAF, Mr Simmonds worked as a sales manager for G-Plan Furniture, and Mrs Simmonds was a teacher at Acomb Primary School.

The couple have two daughters, Angela and Elaine, and three grandchildren, Jonathan, Abigail and Naomi.