Romantic pair go back to their roots

Hilary and Dougie Begg received a card from the Queen via Janet Bowen, the Lord Lieutenant for Ross-shire
Hilary and Dougie Begg received a card from the Queen via Janet Bowen, the Lord Lieutenant for Ross-shire
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A couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary by returning to the city where they fell in love.

Dougie and Hilary Begg, who now live in Ross-shire, married at Mayfield East Church on September 17, 1955.

And 60 years later, they came back for a romantic break and stayed in the Rutland in the Capital – the hotel where they spent their wedding night.

The couple both attended Niddrie Marischal School and lived in the same part of south Edinburgh, but did not know one another.

They first struck up a conversation years later, in May 1952, during a chance cycling encounter at Gullane, East Lothian.

Dougie, 81, said: “We both cycled and I was returning home to Edinburgh when I met Hilary and her friend May. It was love at first sight for me when I saw Hilary. I fell in love with her hair. She had a lovely bob haircut.”

Noticing that she didn’t have cycling shoes, he visited her at work the following day to give her a pair – and came back every day after that.

“At the time, Hilary worked as a chemist shop assistant in Edinburgh and I was an apprentice glazier in Edinburgh,” Dougie said.

“I proposed to Hilary on Calton Hill on Easter Sunday 1954, having permission from her father. We married at Mayfield East Church on September 17, 1955 and honeymooned in the Isle of Man after spending our wedding night at the Rutland Hotel.”

Hilary, 80, spent 20 years working for Boots the Chemist before retiring in 1994.

Dougie finished his apprenticeship in 1955 and was called up for National Service while on honeymoon, and served with 1st Battalion Scots Guards.

After demobilisation, he tried to join the police, but was about half an inch too short.

It was then that his father, a fishmonger and poulterer, suggested a career in the prison service.

Starting his career in Edinburgh, Dougie worked for 36 years at prisons across Scotland before retiring in 1994.

He achieved the rank of governor and college manager in charge of catering and ordering.

The couple have two sons, Paul and Stuart, and a daughter, Sharon, as well as five grandchildren.

“People ask how do you stay married for 60 years.” Dougie said. “Our advice is remember your wedding vows and work together, always help each other and enjoy life.”

Hilary added: “We have arguments but we get over it. I tend to go in the huff for longer than my husband.”

They do everything together and share interests including gardening and walking their dogs.

After retiring, the couple spent a lot of time at their caravan in Aviemore over a 25-year period.

After getting to know the area so well, they decided in 2008 to leave Stirling after 32 years and settle in Ross-shire.