Bus meeting was ticket to one fare old marriage

James and Dorothy Ritchie are congratulated by depute provost Margot Russell
James and Dorothy Ritchie are congratulated by depute provost Margot Russell
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While most of us dread the morning commute to work, it was a reason to celebrate for James Ritchie and Dorothy Mabon back in the early 1950s.

For it was aboard the bus that they first caught each other’s eye before going on to marry, raise five children and now celebrate 60 years together as husband and wife.

“We both got the same bus to Dalkeith and that’s when we met,” says Mrs Ritchie, 81.

“I was heading to the Musselburgh mill and he was working in housing schemes in Penicuik at the time. It took off from there.”

Mr Ritchie, who worked in the building industry, was a colleague of Dorothy’s uncle, Adam Mabon, and it was he who introduced the pair on a routine journey to work.

“It’s just as well he did,” laughs Mr Ritchie, 86.

Originally from Broxburn, former Broxburn Primary and Broxburn High pupil James was working across Midlothian, helping to construct much-needed post-war housing.

His wife-to-be, originally from Gowkshill, would spend her working day at the mills and would look forward to her chats with Mr Ritchie on board the bus.

From there, the couple knew they were destined to be together and tied the knot on June 30, 1951 at Newtongrange Registry Office.

For the past 58 years, the pair have lived in Fourth Street, Newtongrange.

The proud parents of five children – James, Irene, Allan, Jean and David – Mr and Mrs Ritchie celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with their family and friends at the Cockatoo restaurant in nearby Millerhill.

“It was great,” says Mr Ritchie. “All the family were together.”

The couple were also congratulated at the event by Midlothian Council depute provost Margot Russell, who presented them with a bouquet of flowers, and the icing on the cake came in the form of a telegram from the Queen.

When asked what the secret to such a long and happy marriage was, the couple said it was all about helping each other.

“I don’t think there is any secret as such,” says Mr Ritchie. “I think you just have to believe in each other, help each other and agree with each other.”

“We’ve had ups and downs like everyone else,” adds Mrs Ritchie. “It’s just a happy marriage with a bit of give and take.”