A fateful night out in Bo’ness over half a century ago started a romance which led to 60 years of wedded bliss for a Grangemouth couple.
Bill Lawless was at the Forth Rangers Hall on the evening of the Bo’ness Fair when he set eyes on his future wife Ilene, then a 14-year-old piper in a local band. Fast forward six decades and the couple with four children, eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren have just celebrated their diamond anniversary.
“It wasn’t really love at first sight,” admitted Ilene (77). “But he started coming to the Kinneil dancing and we started going out with each other. I met Bill when I was 14, got engaged to him when I was 16 and married him when I was 17.”
The couple married in Edinburgh’s St Giles Registry Office on September 4, 1953, and, with Bill working on Grangemouth Docks and Ilene in the hotel trade, set up home together in Dundas Street, Grangemouth, eventually moving into the house in Smallburn Place they still share today.
“We always knew we would be together for the rest of our lives,” said Ilene.
Bill (82) does not get around as well as he used to so the couple marked their big day last Wednesday with a family gathering in their home.
Ilene said: “That’s all we need, our family and friends around us. We went out for our 25th, 40th and 50th anniversaries, but Bill doesn’t really leave the house much now.
“We met through dancing and used to go dancing a lot in the Dockers’ Club. It’s something we both enjoyed.”
And what’s the secret of such a long and happy marriage?
“You’ve just got to get on with your life. Children were a big part of our life and we certainly had plenty of them.”