Golden couple Bill and Liz were united by fate

Bill and Liz McBain
Bill and Liz McBain
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Golden couple Bill and Liz McBain celebrate half a century of marriage this week.

The couple met in 1957, when Bill had just completed his national service. Living in the Carrick Knowe area, Bill got to know Liz through his future wife’s sister, Anne.

Bill and Liz McBain

Bill and Liz McBain

Fate dealt their future union a hand when Liz’s date for Bill’s 21st birthday bash could not attend, and Bill gallantly stepped into the breach by asking Liz to be his date.

Their romance flourished, and the couple were married on September 8, 1961, at Carrick Knowe Church. At that time, Liz worked in the College of Agriculture at the King’s Buildings, and Bill worked in a variety of positions – from the Gas Board to Wall’s ice cream – as well as studying at the College of Commerce in Glasgow.

Their first home was a caravan at the Claycote site in Corstorphine, although they moved following the arrival of their first child, Gavin, in October 1962.

They moved into a flat in Hermand Terrace in 1964, where second son Andrew was born.

The family then moved to Easter Drylaw Drive, and in 1966 they suffered the heartbreak of losing third child Jamie. However, daughter Kirsty was born in 1968. Liz’s younger brother Davey credits the couple with encouraging his musical career – quite an accomplishment given he would go on to be a guitarist for Elton John for 30 years.

Davey recalls the “insane jiving, shaking their upstairs house at Carrick Knowe gardens to the core”.

When money was tight, Bill did extra evening work, and Liz turned her hand to knitting mohair garments, in addition to taking up a Saturday job at C&A.

Bill worked as a credit controller with Miller Homes in Groathill Road South from 1973, up to his retirement in 2000. He became active with the Scottish Industrial Sports Association, and indulged his lifelong passion for golf – he has been a member at Murrayfield Golf Club for the last 30 years.

Liz started teacher training at Moray House in 1974, and three years later began work as a teacher at Pirniehall Primary school.

One of their happiest days was February 10, 1988, when their grandson Joel was born. The couple also share a passion for Hibs, and have been active members of the Labour Party for many years. They have become renowned for playing a prominent role in a wide range of community activities, including charitable work with the Parkinson’s Disease Society. Patrick Mark, chair of the Edinburgh branch of Parkinson’s UK, says: “For over 10 years they have given help to many people.”

Andrew said: “Mum and dad have been inseparable over the years - they depend on each other at all times, and there’s never a dull moment in our family.”

Bill, 75, and Liz, 70, plan to mark their golden wedding with a party at the Royal Scot Club on Saturday night.