A DEVOTED couple from West Lothian toasted 60 happy years of marriage last week and received a surprise visit from two important dignitaries.
Mary and William Paterson, both 89, met shortly after World War II and wed in Penicuik on September 8, 1951.
The duo marked their Diamond Anniversary at a bash with their family in West Calder but were shocked by the arrival of two unexpected guests – deputy provost Jim Dickson and Lord Lieutenant Isabel Brydie, the Queen’s representative in West Lothian, who delivered a letter of congratulations from Her Majesty.
Their paths first crossed in the 1940s when Mary, a district nurse from Portobello, was caring for William’s stepmother who was ill.
They began courting and later married at the Penicuik Hotel before honeymooning at Glenfarg in Perth.
“I suppose you could say it was love at first sight,” said Mr Paterson.
“We were courting for quite a number of years and were quite late in getting married compared with today’s standards.”
Former RAF technician William, who was stationed in India during the war, went into partnership with his father, a jeweller and watchmaker, and later moved the family from Edinburgh to Dumfries in 1958.
They remained there for around 30 years and had two daughters, Margaret and Susan, and later became grandparents to Andrew and Alanna.
In Dumfries, William co-managed the jewellers IC Walands but in retirement, the couple moved to Kirkbank near Lockerbie and travelled frequently for holidays in France.
More recently the couple moved to West Calder in order to be closer to their family, and now live in an extension to daughter Susan’s home.
Describing the last 60 years together, William said: “It’s passed like lightning.
“It just feels like yesterday that we met.
“To other people looking in it may seem like a long time but for us it’s just a flash.
“We have enjoyed life so much that time passes very quickly.”
A talented amateur artist, William enjoys drawing and photography, while Mrs Paterson likes to knit, bake and also spends her time caring for her family.
Asked about their landmark occasion, Mr Paterson replied: “We had not been informed that we would have the deputy provost and the Queen’s representative to visit us and were not expecting that.
“We thought it would be just family.”
“But we were delighted and it was a great surprise to have so many people there for this milestone in one’s life.”