Celebrating your 80th birthday is a big deal but John Baird’s landmark day had an even more special touch to it.
It was also the day the former Marine marked his diamond wedding to wife Jean, after tying the knot on July 31, 1954 in Camelon’s St John’s Church.
The couple were high school sweethearts at Falkirk Technical School who have now spent 60 years together with all the “ups and downs” that brings.
The saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is one that rings true for John and Jean.
They started courting at the age of 16 before they decided they were too young to make such a commitment. John then joined the Marines in November 1951, but couldn’t stand being away from Jean.
He said: “We knew each other throughout school but felt we were too young to get serious at that time.
“I joined the Marines but I was pining for her and told her so when I was on leave one time and we took it from there.”
John proposed to Jean in Glasgow where they bought the ring and on their big day Jean’s bridesmaid was her best friend Rena Ferguson, while John’s best man was George Abernethy, his pal from the Marines.
They held their reception in the Co-op Hall in Camelon and spent their honeymoon in Aberdeen “with no money”, according to John.
Jean (79) is a Camelon lass and John was originally from Grangemouth. They now live in Falkirk’s Greenbank Court.
Jean started her working life as a welder in R&A Mains and worked in other well known Falkirk factories such as Fairchilds, SGS and Glynwed before working behind the counter in Mathiesons before retiring.
After the Marines John worked in British Aluminium in Bainsford where he spent most of his working life.
The couple have two sons Derek (55), and Steven (49) and one daughter Hannah (54). They also have six grandchildren – Steven, Scott, David, Lindsay, Andrew and Philip – and six great grandchildren.
Jean said: “I think our secret to a long, happy marriage is working things out together. We’ve had our ups and downs like everyone else but we have a wonderful, close family. I don’t know what I would do without my family.”
They marked their milestone year with a family dinner at Hannah’s home. They are travelling to Dubai in December to celebrate Jean’s 80th in style.