IT WAS not love at first sight for James and Eileen Hendry - it took a bus journey for the couple to realise just how much they cared for each other.
James (76) and Eileen (75), of Earn Court, Grangemouth, just celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, enjoying a dinner with their children Jane (48) and James (47), daughter-in-law Gillie and two grandchildren Sally (10) and Ben (7).
“You don’t think about it at the time,” said James. “Will we be together for 50 years? It never enters your mind.”
Eileen Bishop entered James’s mind on the dancefloor of Doak’s Ballroom in Falkirk in 1956. The night they met was James’s 21st birthday and he could not have received a better present than having the 1951 Linlithgow Gala Queen enter his life.
He did not realise it at the time, however.
“We went dancing with each other for ages,” said Eileen. “But it wasn’t until July 4, 1960, he finally popped the question.”
On that day James went to the dancing to meet Eileen as usual, but she was not there.
“I asked had anyone seen Eileen and someone said she was ill and couldn’t make it. I got on a bus to Linlithgow to go and see her. I asked myself, what am I doing on this bus?
“I could be at the dancing just now enjoying myself. Then I thought - I know what it is - I’m in love with her.”
A teenage Helen Shapiro was riding high in the charts with ‘Walking Back to Happiness’ when James and Eileen tied the knot in St Ninians Craigmailen Church in Linlithgow on October 7, 1961, and that became the couple’s song.
“We just get on well with each other - and she’s the boss,” laughed James.
The couple now spend as much time with their grandchildren as possible.
Eileen said: “That’s what keeps us going - it keeps us educated.
“A wee while ago Ben found out I was a gala queen and started telling people his gran is the Queen of Linlithgow.”