Edinburgh bride-to-be asks life-long best friend and 75-year-old housekeeper to be bridesmaid on big day

Caroline had a scratch card specially designed and told Pat to use a penny to open it.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 11:45 am
"I knew I wanted her as my bridesmaid and I knew how much it would mean to her to be asked but I had to work out a good way to ask her.

When Caroline Mackay decided to tie the knot with long term partner Lee Wilson, she had no doubts about who she wanted to be her bridesmaid.

Just like any other bride-to-be, the 39-year-old wanted her best friend standing alongside her on her big day.

But unlike most brides, Caroline’s closest friend happens to be her housekeeper, who has been looking out for her since she was “a tiny girl”.

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Pat Wilson, who will celebrate her 75th birthday in February shortly before the March wedding, has worked for the bride-to-be’s family for 40 years.

Pat was born in Stirling in 1945, was brought up in the Borders and spent much of her adolescence in Germany.

It wasn’t until the early 60s, after her two young children were diagnosed as deaf and without speech, that she moved to Craigour so her children, who she raised alone, could attend Donaldson’s School for deaf education.

It was then that she started working for Doland and Lesley Mackay and after the couple had their three children, Simon, Diana, and Caroline, she took on the extra role of nanny for the family. This is when the pair first started to form their life-long friendship.

The housekeeper remembers her friend as a “kind” and “funny” child and the pair stayed close through Caroline’s teenage years.

Pat said: “I went with her through all of her school days, all of the different friends and boyfriends. I feel so happy I get to be her bridesmaid, she has been a very good friend to me and I just could not stop crying when she asked me.”

Caroline, who says Pat acted as her agony aunt growing up, said: “She’s always been part of the family and the person I would go to for advice. She has had to cope with a lot in her life but is always so positive.

“I knew I wanted her as my bridesmaid and I knew how much it would mean to her to be asked but I had to work out a good way to ask her.”

The HR Consultant popped the question when Pat, who still cleans Caroline’s mother’s house, was working at the family home in Marchmont.

Caroline had a scratch card specially designed and told Pat to use a penny to open it. After scraping away the top layer is revealed the question “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

Pat said: “I was so happy I just burst into tears. I have never been a bridesmaid and at nearly 75 I thought I never would be. It was such a nice surprise.”

The pair are heading off for the hen night in February, which will include dinner, cocktails and an ABBA themed dance class.

Then in March, at Greenbank Parish Church, Caroline and Pat will head down the aisle together in new frocks.

Caroline said: “I know everyone is coming to see Pat, she is the real star of the show and that’s fine by me.”

She added: “I am going to be a Ms Wilson just like Pat.”

Pat said: “Caroline and I are quite looking forward to being the two Ms Wilsons.”