Real Lives: Anniversary gathering for inspirational couple

Provost Pat Reid with Susan and Robert Erskine
Provost Pat Reid with Susan and Robert Erskine
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A COUPLE from West Lothian have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary surrounded by three generations of their family.

Robert Erskine, 100, and his wife Susan, 99, toasted their diamond wedding anniversary on January 1, and were cheered on by their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

There was not, however, the customary congratulations card from the Queen – perhaps as a result of the backlog caused by Christmas.

“I am quite sad we haven’t received a letter from the Queen,” said Mrs Erskine. “Maybe it has got lost in the post, though.”

The couple, from Bo’ness, West Lothian, met a dance in their local church in 1932 and admitted it was love at first sight for both of them.

After five years of courting they tied the knot, choosing the first day of the new year for their wedding as it was the only time their friends and family all had a holiday.

Mr Erskine, who worked as a joiner, and Mrs Erskine, a former factory worker, were only parted by the outbreak of the Second World War.

During the war, Mr Erskine served in the Royal Signals, a position which saw him posted to Cairo and Baghdad, spending four years in Egypt and Iraq away from his family.

He wrote to his wife almost every day while he was away, and Mrs Erskine said: “He was so worried about us and I was so anxious all of the time. I never wanted him to leave.

“It was just so wonderful when he came back to us.”

Mrs Erskine said: “I love him very much and he knows I’m always by his side. We still kiss – when we can remember – and we hold hands, too.”

Asked about the secret of their long marriage, she said: “We care for each other. We help each other and we work together.

“Of course, we have our different opinions sometimes but we are always there for one another.”

Mr Erskine celebrated his 100th birthday last year, when he was joined by West Lothian Provost Pat Reid, and Mrs Erskine is due to celebrate her 100th birthday in April.

The couple attribute their longevity to eating fresh fruit, not smoking or drinking and keeping active.

Mr Erskine is a gardener, growing his own fruit and vegetables, while Mrs Erskine, as well as being a keen singer, loves to exercise.

The couple were also regular dancers until five years ago.

“We used to love dancing together, but when I broke my hip a few years ago I couldn’t do it anymore,” Mrs Erskine said.

The couple have three children – William, 68, Margaret, 64, and Bobby, 51, as well as six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

The family joined them at their house on Sunday to celebrate the special anniversary, and said the couple were “an inspiration”.