60 years together as best of friends

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A couple who met during a delivery run are preparing to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

John Rowley, 84, went to Tranent Primary and then high school in Tranent. John left school at 14 and went to work at Walled Market Garden in Tranent weeding and picking fruit. John then became a driver for British Road Services where he was a delivery driver for 27 years making deliveries across Edinburgh.

He then moved to become an HGV driver for John Lewis for 22 years, and did the daily run between Edinburgh and Newcastle until his retirement in 1995 when he was 65.

Mary, 79, went to Dalry Road Primary School and then Tynecastle High. She left school at 15 and went to work at the Caledonia Rubber Company in the office. Mary then moved to Carlow Baxter to continue her office duties. She then went to work for Marks & Spencer in 1957 when they first opened in Princes Street. It was from here she retired in 1993 after 30 years’ service.

It was when Mary was working at the Caledonia Rubber Company and John was making deliveries that he first met Mary and asked her to go out. Their first date was at The Central Picture House in Musselburgh.

The couple were married on a snowy day on March 5, 1955, at Dalry Church and then Westfield Halls, Gorgie. It was attended by many family and friends and their best man Teddy Slater and bridesmaid Nancy Anderson.

Their honeymoon was to Berwick-upon-Tweed to The Tweed Hotel, and the pair admit they mainly remember it being really cold.

Sadly, after being married for just six weeks Mary was admitted to Southfield Hospital at Liberton for a year to receive medication and rest for TB. John was a regular visitor. From their first house in Gracemount they got a swap to Tranent. They moved to their current house in 1985.

In 1959 their daughter Elaine was born followed by their son Mark in 1961. They have four grandchildren – Gareth, Christopher, Daniel and Lauren – and two great grandchildren, McKenzie and Lola.

Mary loved dancing and was a regular at Westfield Halls and The Palais.

John’s love is football and is a big part of his life. He played with Prestongrange Rovers before taking up management positions at Elphinstone Primrose and Tranent Boys Club, where he won East of Scotland trophies. John is a season ticket holder at Hibs and goes regularly with his son, daughter-in-law and friend. He often sees many of the boys who played football for him and likes to reminisce about these times. He hopes to see Hibs lift the Scottish Cup.

A family party is planned on Saturday, March 7.

Over the years they have enjoyed many holidays abroad and more recently bus trips with their favourite up north for New Year. They keep in good health and love keeping up to date with all the family news.

When asked what’s the secret to a long marriage they say it’s to remain good friends and always work things out when you’ve had an argument.