Their match of the day

editorial image

Ken and Christine Waddell agree that 1957 was a memorable year – Falkirk won the Scottish Cup, he began work as a journalist and they were married.

Sixty years later, Christine said that is probably still how her husband would rank the events in importance!

A life-long Bairns supporter, Ken, now 84, was only seven when he attended his first match at Brockville being lifted over the turnstile to see the team of the day.

After starting work in the TSB bank in Falkirk, followed by a spell in the RAF for his National Service, Ken finally got the opportunity to enter the career that had interested him since school. He was given the role of staff reporter on the Bo’ness Journal and with that came a staff house. However, with bosses keen for him to move into the property straight away that saw the couple’s wedding brought forward several months.

Christine said: “It was all planned for March 1958 but instead took place in Larbert West Church on November 30, 1957 with the reception in the Larbert Co-operative Hall.”

It was a wedding that had brought them together when Ken was invited to the marriage of his friend’s sister in Mathieson’s tea rooms in Falkirk’s High Street.

He said: “I walked in and the girl playing the piano caught my eye. When she turned round I decided I was really interested.”

At that time the then Christine Duchart was working as a comptometer operator with James Jones of Larbert.

Following their wedding, they moved into a house in Linlithgow Road, Bo’ness, where they spent seven years with their last two years in the town spent in Deanfield Road.

However, in 1966 bosses at what is now Johnston Press decided it was time to promote Ken and he became chief reporter and sports editor at The Falkirk Herald.

Four years later, he was appointed editor, a role he held for 21 years, making him the longest serving editor the newspaper has ever had. The last 17 years of his tenure also saw him become group editor with overall responsibility for the titles in Central Scotland.

The couple’s connection with newspapers continued through their sons. Elder son Bruce, who worked for both The Falkirk Herald and Linlithgow Gazette, was editor of both the Scottish Sun and Daily Record, while Gordon is chief sportswriter with the Sunday Mail.

“I married Ken and a profession,” laughed Christine (79), “but no-one warned me.”

Latterly, she also worked in the TSB in Falkirk and continues to keep in touch with former colleagues. Asked the secret of a long and successful marriage, Ken said: “Two little words – ‘yes dear’.”

But both admitted having their own interests allowed them to enjoy all the time they spent together, particularly on holidays which were often spent abroad and recently in their caravan.

They intend to spend today’s (Thursday) diamond anniversary quietly in their Falkirk home, but on Sunday will be joined by 60 family and friends, including daughter-in-laws Catherine and Susan, and grandsons Daniel (21) and Logan (9), for a celebratory meal in the Park Hotel.