Real Lives: Chance encounter led to six decades of happiness

William and Catherine Farrow
William and Catherine Farrow
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A CHANCE encounter led to six decades of happiness for William and Catherine Farrow.

The Mayfield couple recently toasted their diamond wedding anniversary.

Their relationship began after Catherine, from Newtongrange, went to visit her sister in Cumnock and bumped into William, an Ayrshire lad living in Ochiltree, at a dance.

William, 85, said: “Well, I saw Catherine and that was it. She was 18 and I was 22. I spent quite a lot of time travelling through to Newtongrange after that.”

After a four-year courtship they tied the knot in the Church of Christ, Newtongrange, on March 21, 1952, on the first day of spring.

After honeymooning in Chesterfield, the couple settled down in Midlothian.

In December 1953, they moved to a new home in Ash Grove, Mayfield – where they still live today.

William had served a six-year apprenticeship as a builder in Ayrshire using his skills in residential and commercial projects, and his trade took him across Scotland.

He said: “Although I enjoyed the work and was fortunate to work alongside some fabulous builders, the downside was being away from Catherine.”

He also spent 30 years as a clerk of works in Edinburgh.

Catherine, 81, said: “I worked part-time with Richard Falconer, the electricians, doing the books.

“But sometimes I got bored and spent time in the shop repairing kettles and irons. It was easy to replace bits that had worn out.”

After more than 17 years of maintaining figures and kitchen equipment, Catherine moved to Langlaw Primary School in Mayfield, where she undertook secretarial duties, staying there for a further 17 years until her retirement.

William and Catherine went on to have two children, Maureen and Jim, and now have six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The couple enjoyed playing badminton, with William playing at east of Scotland level in Edinburgh and going on to coach in Newtongrange.

He also spent 12 years on the committee of Easthouses Bowling Club, and seven years as its president.

William said: “We’re not ones for sitting in the house and are out every day, although we don’t go too far.You’ve got to keep active, haven’t you?”

Asked the secret to a long, happy marriage, Catherine said: “Don’t let anyone tell you they haven’t had arguments because I don’t believe that. You’ve got to work at a marriage.

“We’ve had a very good life and that’s because we work together.”

William said: “It’s been a marriage of complete happiness.

“We enjoyed having our family and we have a very good family.

“It’s just a pleasure to have them around.”