When Derrick Green proposed to Mary Hunt just three days after they met, little did he know that 50 years of happy marriage were in store for them.

Although Mary took six months to accept the impromptu offer, the pair married and have now celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

They met through mutual friends in London while Mary was enjoying a half-term holiday from her teaching post at a school in Hartlepool, where she lived.

Derrick had moved to the capital from Steeton to work for the civil service and took Mary to a jazz club for their first date. The music was later to become a passion which characterised their family.

Derrick said: “After we first met I was talking to a friend and I said ‘I have just met the future Mrs Green’ and that night I sat reading Jude The Obscure in bed and the first chapter has Mary Green in it.

“Then I looked out of the window and I saw a shooting star and I took it as a sign.”

Mary said: “He used to cook back in those days — he never has since! And he threw a dinner party. I was carrying dishes back into the kitchen and he said ‘when are you going to marry me?’ I nearly dropped them all.

“I thought ‘this man is an absolute idiot, he hardly knows me’ but we wrote to each other after I went back to Hartlepool and he came to visit me and six months later I accepted his proposal. We were married six months after that.”

They wed at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, in Dipdon, Durham, on August 23, 1958, and moved to live in London briefly before moving back to Steeton after Derrick suffered a heart attack.

The pair returned to live in the house where Derrick was born in Upper School Street and have remained there ever since.

During their lifetime the couple have fostered two children and keep in touch with one — jazz singer Kristine Gayle.

They also adopted another girl named Brigid and the pair are now grandparents to her son, Joshua.

Derrick could not work after he suffered his heart attack and instead dedicated his time to pursuing a passion in painting and poetry writing.

He taught painting for many years and still takes a small class of students at his home.

Mary went to teach at Holy Family School, where she was head of the English department until she retired in 1980.

She is a great lover of detective novels.

Mary said of their life so far together: “It has been very eventful, when I look back it’s hard to believe how much. We have been blessed with such lovely children, it brings a tear to my eye when I think of it.”

Derrick said: “It has gone very quickly. We have now got to that stage where we start reflecting on what we have done.”

The pair celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a dinner party at Steeton Hall with 14 of their friends, many of whom were with them on their original wedding day.