Diamond couple return to honeymoon cottage

Bill and Cathie Combe
Bill and Cathie Combe
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DIAMOND wedding couple Bill and Cathie Combe are set to celebrate 60 years of marriage by returning to the cottage where they spent their honeymoon.

Bill and Cathie, who live in Meadowbank, will return to the small cottage on the shores of Loch Rannoch in Perthshire for a week’s holiday on Saturday.

Bill and Cathie Combe on their wedding day in 1951.

Bill and Cathie Combe on their wedding day in 1951.

It will be the first time they have seen the cottage since their week-long honeymoon 60 years ago.

Cathie, 78, said: “Back then it was paraffin lamps and water from the well, so it will be a bit different now with TV, central heating and a phone.

“It will be lovely to go back. It will be quite sentimental.”

The couple met while attending bible class as teenagers at Bristo Memorial Church in Craigmillar.

Two years later they started dating and just a few days before Cathie’s 19th birthday, they married on October 13, 1951 – in the same church where they met.

The couple, who don’t have children, still go to Bristo Memorial Church, where Bill has been an elder since 1963.

Bill was an Ordinary Seaman in the Royal Navy for 18 months, six of which were spent on a cruise of the Mediterranean onboard HMS Vanguard.

After the Navy, Bill worked on the yeast press at a brewery in Craigmillar.

He then went on to take a job as a bus conductor and then a driver for Edinburgh Corporation, which later became Lothian Regional Transport.

After around three years in the job, Bill passed his exams to become a tour guide onboard buses at the age of 30. He did his first tour in 1960 with Edinburgh Corporation and went on to drive and do the commentary for many tours.

He was forced to retire in 1993 – after 51 years as a tourist guide – due to a triple heart bypass, which put an end to his bus driving.

However, even now, at the age of 81, he still does the talking onboard the occasional private bus tour.

“He still talks – he’s got the gift of the gab,” said Cathie.

“As well as Scotland and England, he used to take bus tours abroad to Europe, to Norway, Holland, Sweden, Belgium and Germany, and I used to go with him.

“Bill just does the odd tour now with private companies in Edinburgh.

“He’s cutting back so maybe two a month.

“It keeps his brain ticking over.”

Meanwhile Cathie worked at various post offices across the Lothians, including Craigmillar and Jock’s Lodge, for 50 years, 15 of which were spent on counters and 35 as a relief sub-postmistress.

“I was in charge of more than 50 post offices in my lifetime,” said Cathie, who retired at the age of 66.

Cathie said the secret of a long and happy marriage was “first of all love, a sense of humour and give and take”.