A WELL-KNOWN Portland couple have celebrated 70 happy years together.

Les and Jean Ames were surprised with a special party with their family and friends to celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary on Sunday 4.

The couple met in 1941 at a dance in London. Jean was working as a nurse and Les was in the RAF.

Mrs Ames said: “He came up and asked me to dance.

“We danced all evening together and that was it.”

The couple were married on May 4, 1944. When they were first married they lived with Mrs Ames’ family in South Norwood, London.

When Mr Ames left the RAF he went on to work in Croydon engineering mechanical instruments.

Mrs Ames had a dance school – Jean Ames Dance School – in South Norwood.

The pair have two children, Deirdre Taylor and Josephine Gomm.

The couple came down to Weymouth on holiday in 1952 and liked it so much they decided they would like to live here.

They moved to Weymouth before moving to Portland and currently live in Southwell.

Mr Ames worked at the admiralty on Portland until his retirement and Mrs Ames worked at Sonic Studios on Great George Street, then Singers on St Mary Street, before working for the MOD at Lynch Lane until she retired.

Mr Ames joined the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council in the 1976, Portland Town Council in 1979 and Dorset County Council in 1981.

He has held the office of Mayor of Weymouth and Portland twice and been Mayor of Portland three times, most recently this year.

In 2006 he was awarded the MBE for services to the community.

The couple love to holiday in Menorca and recently took a trip to New Zealand and Australia.

Mr and Mrs Ames have four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Mr Ames said they knew nothing about the surprise party until a taxi turned up at the house.

He said: “We had a wonderful time.

“We didn’t know where we were going, just that the taxi went to the Heights.”

They were greeted by friends and family from as far away as Sussex, Kent and Birmingham.

The couple said the secret to their long and happy marriage was to ‘take the good with the bad,’ ‘forget the quarrels’ and to enjoy a laugh together.

Mrs Ames said: “We laugh a lot.

“We have a happy life together.”

Daughter Deidre Taylor said: “They are a very caring pair – they are always there for each other and everyone in the family.”

She added: “All the family are very proud of them for reaching the anniversary – it’s an amazing achievement.”