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A Wishaw couple who started dating as teenagers still have a sparkle in their eyes for each other – after more than six decades together.
Robert and Elizabeth MacDonald, who are both 80, celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary and 60 years of married life on Thursday.
“It doesn’t seem that long,” said Elizabeth. “It has passed in a flash.”
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The two were still at school and living in Motherwell when they met as 15-year-olds, and became an item during a visit to the carnival.
Their daughter Allison Mitchell explained: “My mum went along with my dad’s friend to the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, and my dad went with my mum’s friend, and by the time they came out of the carnival they were together. They’ve been together since.”
The couple enjoyed a church wedding five years later in Orbiston Street in Motherwell and bought a room and kitchen in the town as their first marital home.
Their son Stuart was born just over a year later and Allison came along just over three years after her big brother.
The family moved to a newly built home in Coltness 54 years ago, while Allison was still a baby, and Robert and Elizabeth have lived in the house in Denholm Drive ever since.
Elizabeth worked in care home and also in the Edward Lawson centre, Robert was a hydraulic fitter in Anderson Boyes, where he earned the nickname “King Pumper”.
He explained: “I had the position of testing the pumps.”
While there, he sat and passed his PSV licence and earned extra money for the family working a second job as a coach driver.
It was a role he would take on as a full-time career after taking redundancy from Anderson Boyes when the machinery engineering company went into decline.
The couple have five grandchildren, Kirstie, Louise, Danny, Michael, and Stacey. They also have a great grandson Ethan, aged three, and another on the way next month.
They are dog lovers and are kept company at home by Collie cross Kahra, who is almost 13 years old.
Elizabeth retired early from work and while Robert continued to drive the coaches for a considerable time he also retired some years ago. Although, he admits he still misses driving around the country and abroad.
Conversely, it's Elizabeth who now has has wheels, as she gets about on a motorised mobility scooter.
“They are home buddies now,” admits Allison. “We do go out for family meals and on holidays. We’re just back from the Isle of Wight, which was to celebrate my mum’s 80th. And we’re all going to Blackpool for a few days to celebrate the Diamond Wedding.”
While the couple’s love for each other has definitely lasted a lifetime they would never claim it’s been a fairytale.
“We have our ups and downs like everyone else and you need loads of patience, and more as the years go on,” Elizabeth said jokingly. "He was away a lot driving coaches so it was heaven.”
Robert added: “I miss the coach driving. They joked I’d been banned from Euro Disney because I was getting too friendly with Minnie Mouse, I’d been there that many times.
I just argue with the wife to pass the time now,” he laughed. “We’re classed as Jack and Vera, so that tells you a lot.”
When pushed on whether absence makes the heart grow fonder, Elizabeth responded: “It helps”.
Allison added: “They are always bickering and getting at each other but if anything happened to either of them they would be heartbroken. I’ve been calling them Jack and Vera Duckworth for years.
"My dad loves to chat and to help people, he speaks to anyone – I think that comes from the coach driving. My mum is a bit more reserved and gives him a row for talking too much.”
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