For a couple destined to spend 50 years of married life together, Tom Marshall’s first meeting with his future wife probably could have gone a lot better.
In 1961 and aged 18, he was “rude and had a lot to say for himself” and at age 16 Catherine Dolan was not impressed.
However, as can happen in ‘matters of the heart’, a poor first impression was not allowed to stand in the way of a friendship which quickly blossomed into a romance which led to them walking down the aisle just two years later - and celebrating their Golden Wedding just a month ago.
Catherine (68) was born in Oberstown, County Meath, Southern Ireland in 1945 but moved with her family to Lime Road, Camelon, in 1956. Tom (70) had been brought up in the same street, but flitted with his parents to Carmuirs Drive a few months earlier.
Catherine recalls: “Tom’s sister, Joan, was my best friend at primary school and he knew my cousin John Cassidy who lived a few doors away. We met when he came round to see John or when Joan invited me to her house. To be honest I thought he was quite rude at first and if I remember we exchanged a few words about that. But then he asked me out to the pictures, The Regal I think, and we started to get along a lot better. Tom must have made a better impression as we got to know each other because two years later we were husband and wife!”
After their wedding in St Mary of the Angels RC Church in Camelon on August 24, 1963, the newly weds moved to Allandale. Tom worked as a driver with Steins and the terraced cottage came with the job!
They raised the first of their five sons, Thomas (48) and Martin (47) there before moving to Woodburn Crescent in Bonnybridge and welcoming the arrivals of Robert (46), Stephen (45) and Kevin (40). The couple now have eight grandchildren.
Before her marriage Catherine worked with the Royal Scottish National Hospital in Larbert and was training to be a dietician, but she admitted: “Back then when you married your career came to an end. Apart from Kevin, the family came along fairly fast so I was a pretty busy mum, but after the boys grew up I went to Falkirk Technical College and completed a course in accountancy.”
By 1979 Tom was working in Saudi Arabia and the family had moved to London. The following year he started his own plumbing company and is now semi-retired. As a member of the Institute of Plumbers he and Catherine work tirelessly for charity and recently were invited to present a substantial cheque on its behalf to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Now living in Kingsbury, North West London, Catherine works in the credit control department of a leading firm of surveyors in the City. There have already been a few family parties to celebrate the anniversary - but more are planned!