A DEVOTED couple celebrate their Platinum wedding anniversary tomorrow.
Meg and Duncan Forrest, who met in their early teens, were married at Crosskeys Hotel, Dalkeith, on October 30, 1942.
Duncan was born in Newtongrange on June 27, 1921 to miner William Forrest and his wife Margaret, while Meg, who originally lived in Tarbrax, Lanarkshire, was born on November 19, 1920 to mother Robena and father William Brown, also a miner. Meg’s family moved to Newtongrange in 1926 so her dad could find work.
Meg and Duncan’s son Martin said: “They first met in their early teens. My father used to go cycling with my mum’s brother Tush. It wasn’t love at first sight, it was something that snowballed over the years.”
Meg’s mother died when she was 13, forcing her to leave school to take care of the family and look after the house.
In 1935, when he was 14 years old, Duncan left school to go to work at the Lady Victoria Colliery. He remained a miner for the rest of his working life, spending two years at the Emily Pit at Arniston Colliery before moving back to the Lady Victoria. He was then employed by Lingerwood Colliery until its closure in 1967, moving finally to Monktonhall Colliery until his retirement at 60.
Meg worked as a bus conductor during the Second World War, but stopped work after the war ended to take care of the couple’s growing family.
First son Duncan was born in 1944, followed by Martin in 1948, Sheila in 1950 and Bryan in 1959. Each went on to have two children of their own. Duncan Sr developed a keen interest in politics and he still has many friends in the local Labour party.
Eric Clarke, former Labour MP for Midlothian, worked with Duncan during his own 26-year career as a miner. He said: “Duncan has a heart of gold and Meg is a charming woman. One of their sons brought Duncan out to see me in the Dean Tavern recently and he hasn’t changed – he just insulted me all the time.”
Labour councillor for Midlothian East, Peter Boyes, said: “They are a lovely family and Duncan is a fantastic guy, a real joker. One of his favourites is ‘How do you know if a councillor is lying? His lips are moving’. Meg is a wonderful woman too, she really looked after him – though he’ll kill me for saying that.”
Current Labour MP for Midlothian, David Hamilton, lived across the road from the couple and has known them since he was 15. He said: “Duncs, as many people call him, is a real character – he likes to call a spade a shovel. He always does what he thinks is right and you would always get the truth from him. He and Meg are devoted to one another.”
The Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian, Patrick Prenter, will present the couple with flowers to mark their anniversary tomorrow.