A couple who first met in a maths class at the tender age of 12 have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.
Roy and Betty Dilkes, who live in Linlithgow, fell in love just a few years later and got married on Saturday, January 14, 1956.
They grew up in Yorkshire but moved to Linlithgow when Roy, 80, became a lecturer of technology, engineering and science at Falkirk College.
Betty, 81, and Roy had three children – Nigel, 54, and twins Jane and Adrian, 51, as well as five grandchildren.
Roy visits Betty at Linlithgow Care Home most days where she has been a resident since April after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, and he often spends the afternoon by her side.
When asked what his secret to a long and happy marriage was, he said: “I suppose, respect, trust and love, but there’s got to be a word in front of these and that’s unconditional.
“You don’t say I love you darling . . . but, there are no buts.”
He said over the years they have learned there are no single apologies – if something is wrong and one of them is to blame, the other usually has to take some of the responsibility for it as well.
Not long after they got married, Roy decided to take a leap of faith and go to university in order to further his career, and for four years they only saw each other during holidays, as he went to King’s College in Durham.
He said he was a “kept man” during this time but Betty’s support soon paid off as he was able to work his way up to head of department at Falkirk College before leaving in 1993. Betty worked as a wages clerk at a colliery in Yorkshire and operated a comptometer at the time she got married, but when the children arrived she took a break from work to raise the family. Roy said: “We stopped breeding when they started coming in twos!”
The family moved up to Linlithgow and when the children were teenagers Betty, who is well known amongst family members as an excellent cook and keen knitter, worked at the local bakers, Kean’s.
She said: “My faithful and loving husband was known by the whole town as ‘the husband of the woman who works in Kean’s bakers’.”
The couple received a special card from the Queen to mark the milestone, and friends gathered at Linlithgow Care Home for a celebration of their special anniversary.