71 years of marriage key to happiness for Charles

Chuck and Margaret find a little time to themselves is a big bonus. Picture: JANE BARLOW
Chuck and Margaret find a little time to themselves is a big bonus. Picture: JANE BARLOW
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A WIFE who has been married for more than 70 years has revealed the secret to her long, happy union – keeping her husband out of the way.

Margaret Hamilton’s other half Charles – who’ll turn 100 this week – worked tending the greens at Bonnyrigg Bowling club until he was 96.

And every year she would head off on a lone holiday, which she insisted was key to keeping the peace at home.

While they admit to the odd row, Margaret – sprightly at 91 – and Charles, who married in 1941, have travelled together along a smooth road.

She said: “The secret is fighting all the time – no, I’m only kidding, of course, we have had our spats, like any other couple, but it perhaps has helped our marriage that he worked until he was 96.”

Margaret added: “Plus for about
20 years I used to stock up the food in the fridge then go off to Turkey for a fortnight every summer by myself, though I haven’t done that in about 15 years.

“But I think it does help to take time to yourself, it makes you appreciate each other more.”

Charles – known as Chuck – and Margaret married at Strathesk Church in Lasswade on August 16, 1941, and had two sons.

Chuck said: “I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been able to stay in jobs that I’ve enjoyed, I’ve got a good wife and two good sons. I really couldn’t do without my boys, they help me keep up with all this new technology. Internet phones? I can barely switch the telly on.”

Chuck started his working life as an apprentice weaver, before the death of his father forced him to become the family breadwinner.

He then joined Widnell and Stewart’s carpet factory in Bonnyrigg, where he worked for the next 40 years, even helping weave the red carpet used for the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to the Capital in 1953.

Gardening was his passion and, after landing a job tending lawns for Bonnyrigg Council at the age of 62, he played a pivotal role leading Carrington, Midlothian, to the Village of Britain prize in 1976. After “retiring”, Chuck became the greenkeeper at Polton
bowling green and took over at Bonnyrigg, where he stayed until he was four years short of a royal
telegram. Now with his 100th birthday approaching, he revealed the club had tried to tempt him back – but added:
“I think I might give someone else a go. I do still play bowls there, though.”

The couple – who have 
four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren – are handy on the greens, clinching the mixed pairs title at Bonnyrigg in 1965.

Chuck insisted Margaret deserved the credit for their happy marriage.

He said: “It takes two to make a good marriage – but mostly I would say it’s down to a good wife. As for living to my age, I put it down to hard work.

“Keep working for as long as you can. I started when I was 13 and kept going.”