A BLIND couple made a romantic return to Bolton Guide Dogs Centre, where they first met 25 years ago.

Mike Hall, aged 51 and wife Jenny, aged 53, were invited to Bolton's Lowndes Street headquarters to celebrate their joint 50 years as guide dog owners.

Mrs Hall, voted Mother of the Year by the Variety Club of Great Britain in 1984, was also awarded her Long Service Guide Dog User Award.

The couple married in Mansfield in 1978 before moving to Abergele, North Wales, where they have lived for more than 21 years.

Mr Hall has been blind since birth, while Jenny lost her sight through an eye disease at the age of 21.

The mobility and independence provided by their Bolton guide dogs has allowed both of them to lead active lives. Mr Hall was employed on the production line at a car plant in Colwyn Bay before moving to his present job as switchboard operator in Abergele.

With a family of four children, Mrs Hall was featured on Esther Ransen's television show That's Family Life in the 1980s, demonstrating how she had overcome visual impairment to bring up two daughters and two sons.

Being led by a guide dog meant she could not push a pram, but she improvised by carrying her children in a sling on her back.

Mrs Hall said: "Mike and I are very touched that the centre remembered where we met all those years ago, and wanted to celebrate our joint Golden Jubilee as guide dog owners.

"Between us, we have had 12 guide dogs, all trained at Bolton. It was a very emotional day, reliving the memories of when we met, and also how we gained our mobility and independence."