Keen horticulturalists Sandy and Beth Boggon have marked 60 years of blooming romance – after first meeting in a potato field.
Sandy, 86 and Beth, 83, of Walden Drive, Gifford, celebrated their diamond wedding on August 18.
The couple were joined by 60 of their closest friends and family, including one granddaughter who travelled from Cape Town, for a celebratory dinner at Craigielaw Golf Club.
Sandy, originally from County Durham, first met Beth in a potato field in Inverness in 1947 when he was working for the Department of Agriculture.
He said: “I was there to inspect the fields. Beth was a primary school teacher but had taken a summer job as a ‘potato roguer’ to remove the diseased potatoes. I invited her to a dance and it grew from there.”
The Boggons married at Dudhope Church in Dundee and built their first home together in Inverness in 1952.
While Sandy carried on his job with the DoA, Beth left teaching to focus on family life and a busy brood soon ensued. Eldest son Ian was born in 1953, followed by Jimmy in 1954, twins Beth and Sandy arrived in 1957, who the couple named after themselves, and youngest son David was born in 1960.
The family moved to Gifford in 1971 when Sandy was promoted to deputy chief agricultural officer for the DoA at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh.
With her family grown and becoming increasingly independent, Beth returned to teaching in 1974, taking up a post at Gifford Primary School where she stayed until her retirement in 1979.
Sandy retired from the DoA in 1985 and was awarded a CBE in the same year for services to agriculture. He said: “I was delighted. My wife, two of our sons and myself went to Buckingham Palace and we had a tremendous day.”
Sandy and Beth are long-standing and dedicated members of the Gifford Horticultural Society and a variety of other local groups including East Lothian Beekeepers’ Association, Gifford Theatre Group, Yester Curling Club and Gifford Golf Club.
Sandy said: “We’re both lucky enough to be fit and healthy. I’m 86 and I can still play nine holes of golf.”
The couple, who also have eight grandchildren and are expecting their first great-grandchild in March, thoroughly enjoyed their celebrations with their family and friends.
“It was a great day,” Sandy said. “Beautiful surroundings, a lovely meal and a big family gathering.”
However, he added that the highlight of the day was a surprise letter and photograph from the Queen congratulating the couple.
When asked the secret to his long and happy marriage, Sandy was clear on the answer. “We have complete compatibility,” he said. “We have the same interests, enjoy the same activities and we get on very well together.”