60 years for couple who were once streets apart

Betty and Tim Hennessy
Betty and Tim Hennessy
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A COUPLE who grew up a street apart – but did not meet until years later – are to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Tim Hennessy and Betty Leslie were both born at the Simpson Maternity Hospital – Betty arrived on October 2, 1931 with Tim following on New Year’s Day 1932. They grew up a stone’s throw from each other in Gorgie but did not meet until 13 when they were pupils at Carrickvale School in Stenhouse.

Daughter Linda said: “The rest, as they say, is history. They are a very special couple – it’s a rare thing in this day and age for two people to be happily married for 60 years.”

After leaving school at 15, Tom joined Lamonts in Corstorphine and served a five-year apprenticeship, while Betty went to Darlings Department Store on Princes Street. At 21, Tim was called up for National Service in the RAF, and the childhood sweethearts decided to tie the knot, becoming husband and wife on December 19, 1952 at Tynecastle Parish Church.

The couple had first child Patricia, in 1954, followed by John in 1957, Linda in 1961 and Stephen in 1962.

In 1963, Tim joined the Post Office, where he worked until his retirement 33 years later. Betty was employed by various companies throughout her working life before retiring from Scotmid in Clermiston.

A keen Hibs supporter, Tim can often be found cheering his side on at Easter Road, where he was once asked for his autograph by a young boy. Thankfully, Tim had taken a look around before sitting down and directed the confused child, who had been sent over by his father, to the person sitting behind him – The Proclaimers’ Charlie Reid.

Asked about the secret to a solid marriage the couple say a good sense of humour is essential, something they certainly needed.

Linda explained: “With only two bedrooms my parents found themselves sleeping on a bed settee in the living room. When Stephen was about 12 he had a friend over for the night. When the friend’s parents came to pick him in the morning mum and dad were having a lie-in. They heard Stephen saying ‘my mum and dad are here’ before inviting them in. They were in their bed settee while the other couple were in their Sunday best, with nowhere to sit but the end of the bed. We all had a good laugh later – but at the time mum and dad were mortified.”

The couple, who celebrated with a party at the Marriot Hotel on Saturday, have ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.