A SALE woman may be among the youngest people in the UK to have ever celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Shirley Hendley, who was 66 on March 23, got married to her husband Frank on March 23, 1963 – her 16th birthday.

The perhaps unsurprising reason for Shirley and Frank’s early union was that Shirley was pregnant with the first of their five children, Darren, who will be 50 in June.

“Nobody believes I’m his mum, they all think I’m his sister,” Shirley joked.

Shirley said while they have had their ups and downs over the years, as all couple do, she and Frank, 69, have had a happy marriage so far.

And it has not been uneventful, as they emigrated to Australia in 1966, Frank working on the Trans-Australian Railway, still the only rail line to cross the largely uninhabitable Nullarbor Desert, which separates Adelaide and Perth.

Frank and Shirley moved to Australia to be with her parents and five younger siblings, but finding life difficult living in a six house hamlet with no electricity or gas, they returned to the UK after a year.

“In a way we are sorry we did come back because I left my family behind,” said Shirley.

But as her parents, who are now 86 and 95, have now returned to Greater Manchester, she does not regret the decision too much, she added.

The couple certainly have enough family surrounding them, with 13 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, all of whom attended their party at the Cringlewood Social Club, in Northern Club, on March 22.

Maybe Shirley will be the youngest person to celebrate her diamond anniversary in 10 years’ time.