A PENSIONER has died just days after celebrating his 70th wedding anniversary.
Billy and Nettie Little celebrated with a party at St Anne’s Care Home in Musselburgh, where the couple had lived for the past two years.
However, Mr Little was taken to hospital three days later after suffering a severe stroke. He passed away the following morning. Friends say he had been determined to “hang on” for the big day.
Mr and Mrs Little’s niece, Faye Cunningham, from Tranent, said: “It’s very sad.
“We’re just grateful that he was able to hang on until they’d reached their platinum wedding anniversary because they both had a ball. It was a lovely party.”
Senior carer at the home, Carole McGinley, 52, from Musselburgh, said staff were “shocked” by Billy’s death.
“He never missed anybody when he was passing them to say a big cheery ‘good morning’ and ‘how are you?’,” she said. “I will miss that in the morning.
“A lot of people in here kind of thought he was trying to hang on until their platinum wedding anniversary.”
Nettie, 90, from Tranent, met Billy, 91, from Elphinstone, when they were teenagers. They were both members of the Tranent Cycling Club.
Mr Little was serving with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers in India when he proposed to her and she set about arranging their wedding at the Tranent Town Hall for October 24, 1941, when he would return to East Lothian.
With just three days’ leave from the army to celebrate his marriage, Billy – and Nettie – made the most of their time together.
After Mr Little was demobbed in 1946, he set up a furniture shop in Broxburn Main Street – Wilson and Little – before moving across the street to run a newsagent of the same name. With his wife’s help, the businesses were successful and popular features in the community for nearly four decades.
In the mid-1980s, the couple made a return to East Lothian, living in Longniddry, Tranent, and then Elphinstone, before their move to Musselburgh.
The couple, who had no children, celebrated their wedding anniversary with loved ones, including their niece Faye and nephew Jim Little, from Broxburn, along with their partners Bert and Janette. Care assistant Gillian Gardiner said Mr Little was “always smiling” and enjoyed a “good laugh”.
Tricia Lowe, senior carer, added: “He had a good sense of humour and was easy to talk to, although he had his own opinions when required – he liked his wee debates!”
Mr Little’s funeral took place at Seafield Crematorium yesterday.
Deputy manager of the home, Isobel Stewart, said: “He will be missed by all the residents and staff for his sense of humour.”