Real Lives: It was a case of opposites attracting for golden duo

Janet and Richard Dickson
Janet and Richard Dickson
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GOLDEN couple Janet and Richard Dickson are set to celebrate 50 years of marriage – and reckon their very different natures has been the key to half a century of wedded bliss.

Janet, 69, and Richard (“Dickie”), 74, will mark their anniversary on September 16.

Janet, originally from Lochgelly in Fife, met Dickie at Ormiston Miners’ Institute, back in 1960. They married the following year, at Prestongrange Parish Church in Prestonpans, and settled in the East Lothian town.

Dickie, who was born and raised in West Port, worked as a miner at Monktonhall colliery until its closure in 1985, following which he worked with East Lothian Council’s social work department in Haddington as a driver, then as a taxi driver in Musselburgh until his retirement.

As a Hibs fan, he fondly recalls his schooldays. “The Famous Five would regularly have a kickabout with us in the Easter Road car park beside the ground,” he said.

Janet was a cleaner for most of her career, working in a number of local schools and hospitals, including Edenhall. She said: “I then worked as a lollipop lady when we moved to Tranent, but had to give that up ten years ago.”

Janet’s career could have taken a very different route, had she elected to progress her singing talent. “Dickie always told me I had a fine singing voice,” she said.

It wasn’t just Dickie who recognised his wife’s star potential. Performing luminaries such as Hector Nicol and Russell Hunter told Janet she could go far, and she modestly admitted to reaching the final of Search for a Star at the Playhouse in 1972. Janet said: “I remember it was hosted by Hughie Green, and although I got to the final, I lost out to a group called Fags and Matches, who are still playing to this day.”

Whilst tempted by the prospect of a singing career, the travelling was an aspect of it that didn’t appeal. “I would have been away from my family too much,” she said.

“Mind you, some folk say that Susan Boyle couldn’t have laced my boots.”

Janet and Dickie, who have lived in Ormiston for two years, have a daughter, Barbara, who works as a welfare officer with the RAF Charity Foundation, based in Wales. They have three grandchildren, Michelle, 30, Richard, 24, and Rebecca, who is 20.

The family will be travelling this weekend to join in the wedding anniversary celebrations, which will include a meal at the Longniddry Inn on Saturday night.

When asked the secret to enjoying such a long and happy marriage, Janet insisted it was down to their different natures.

“Dickie is placid and quiet, and, well, I’m the opposite,” she said.

“Like other couples we’ve had our ups and downs, but here we are 50 years married, still going strong.”