James and Winnie Harvey diamond anniversary

James and Winnie Harvey with Provost Tom Kerr. Picture: Comp
James and Winnie Harvey with Provost Tom Kerr. Picture: Comp
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A couple say compromise is the secret of their marriage as they celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Winnie Harvey, nee Reidy, was born near Bathgate on March 12, 1923, a year before her future husband and “toy-boy” James, who followed on March 1, 1924 in Addiewell.

The couple met and married slightly later than was common in those days, tying the knot at St Mary’s Chapel in Bathgate on July 18, 1953, after James popped the question on Christmas Day 1952.

Daughter Marie, 48, said: “They met at a dance at the Corn Exchange in Bathgate. My dad was the lead singer in a popular local band who had been performing, and no doubt had quite a few ladies after him, but he asked my mum to dance, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

James, who also played for the Loganlea Amateur football team that reached the sixth round of the Scottish Amateur Cup, worked in the local mines before taking on a new career in the 1970s. He worked in security and then in industrial first aid and as an auxiliary nurse at the former Bangour Hospital.

Winnie worked in the laundry at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from the age of 14 until she was married, then worked in the dining room at Bangour Hospital, and also ran her own catering business.

James said: “Compromise has been our strength, we’ve never spoken a wrong word between us.”

And daughter Marie was only too happy to attest to this, saying: “When I was little I wasn’t even aware that people did argue. They’ve always been able to work things out without anger. Maybe it’s because they didn’t get married until later – it pays to wait for the right one.”

The couple, who have three children, Gerard, Michael and Marie, six grandchildren, Paul, Anne, Philip, Katherine, Kieran and Rachel, and great-grandchildren Mabel and Gabriel, celebrated their diamond wedding with a blessing at St Thomas Church in Addiewell, followed by a buffet with the family.

They were also presented with a bouquet of flowers by Provost Tom Kerr, who said their 60 happy years was “truly remarkable”.