A HELENSBURGH couple have celebrated 60 years of marriage with a letter from Her Majesty the Queen.

John and Valerie Ashworth, who live next to the Hill House in upper Helensburgh, reached their diamond wedding anniversary last Thursday, July 23.

Mr Ashworth, 83, and his wife, 80, received the Royal correspondence from Dr Gill Aitkenhead, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, who congratulated them on achieving the milestone.

Asked to share his secrets for a long-lasting relationship, Mr Ashworth confided: “The most important thing is having a good wife.”

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The pair tied the knot near to the John Smith’s Tadcaster Brewery in Yorkshire in 1960, where they were both employed at the time.

They moved north of the border 46 years ago after John was appointed managing director of the Chivas Regal and Glenlivet Whisky Group, based in Paisley.

John had control over operations in Renfrewshire and was also appointed vice chair of the group’s European operations, eventually earning an OBE for services to the industry in Renfrewshire and the Scotch Whisky industry before retiring in 1996.

Valerie, meanwhile, brought up their three children, Jonathan, Simon and Louise, and later owned Deja Vu, a small dress shop along the Helensburgh waterfront, for around 20 years.

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John told the Advertiser: “Helensburgh is as good a place as any, and it’s good for education, so that’s why we settled here after I was offered the role with Chivas.

“The key to a good marriage is having a good wife, but we also travelled a lot.

“In my job I would visit the Caribbean to buy rum and my boss would say ‘Take your wife with you’, so the variety we got, rather than sitting looking at each other every evening, was important.

“We travelled the world together and have been very, very lucky.”

He added: “We did have a big celebration for our 50th wedding anniversary when we hired a mansion, but the family are a bit scattered to the wind so we don’t have anything major planned for our 60th, other than receiving our letter from the Queen.”

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