A COUPLE who fell instantly in love after first meeting on Christmas morning 1943 have celebrated their Platinum wedding anniversary.

"It was the best Christmas present ever," said 95-year-old Walter Rose, who was a young soldier when he was invited to spend Christmas day with Brenda and her well-meaning family.

"I walked into the house and saw Brenda's parents. I looked and saw that girl and said 'She's the one I'm going to marry.'"

Brenda, who is now 91, added: "We used to go to the Methodist Church and my mother thought it would be a nice thing to do to have a couple of soldiers round for Christmas.

"We asked the church to help find anyone who might want Christmas Day out. But instead of two men there were three that turned up and the third, the only unmarried one, was Walter. He kissed me under the mistletoe and that was that."

The pair were apart while Walter served in France, landing at Sword Beach on D-Day and also seeing action at La Panne, near Dunkirk.

Walter said of the Normandy landings: "We had quite a decent landing, we were early and caught them by surprise I think.

"We got so far round we couldn't get out again. The idea was to go in, get out and make another beach but that impossible."

Following his safe return, they married in Norwich in 1945, with Brenda in a second-hand dress, borrowed veil and borrowed, too-big shoes. They went on to have three children and they also have four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Walter spent 32 years working for the AA before retiring and the couple moved to Dorset in 2006 and now live at Berkeley Court sheltered housing in West Moors.

Friends and family joined them at an outdoor party to celebrate their anniversary, complete with fish and chips and glasses of bubbly, where Walter let people into the secret of their success. "I always do what I'm told," he said.