A chance encounter between a painter and a Bonnybridge woman led to a bright future together — and one which now includes a 60th wedding anniversary.
Gordon and Margaret McDougall, nee Aytoun, are today (Thursday) celebrating their Diamond Wedding, several decades after meeting at the home of Margaret’s mother where the man who’d go on to become her husband had been called to in his role with Bonnybridge Co-operative.
Within a few weeks, Gordon (87) had walked Margaret (83) home from her nightshift at the village’s picture house and romance soon blossomed.
The duo have since enjoyed many happy years together and marked their latest milestone with a meal at Glenskirlie House, Banknock last month while their son, Graeme (59), was over visiting from his home in Florida on what was his own 30th wedding anniversary.
The celebrations don’t stop there, however, as Gordon and Margaret are also being treated to a trip to the Railway Inn in Dennyloanhead courtesy of the rest of their family this weekend.
Wedding bells sounded for the pair at St Helen’s Church in Bonnybridge where they were married by Reverend Malcolmson.
Margaret, who was born and bred in the village, moved into her first home with Falkirk-born Gordon in Main Street, Bonnybridge before the couple eventually settled in nearby Fairfield Avenue where they have stayed for more than 40 years.
Both McDougalls were employed close to home during the early stages of married life, with Margaret spending days at the British American Tobacco Company in Bonnybridge and nights working as a cashier at the picture house.
Gordon, meanwhile, continued in his position as a painter in the village before joining the army for two years in 1952, during which time he met and spoke with the Queen at a military parade in Edinburgh.
His wife would go on to find employment with both Menzies and the Wrangler factory in Camelon, followed by the High Bonnybridge Co-operative where she worked as a manageress.
Margaret latterly took up a role as a sales representative with a stationery firm in Kilsyth and Kirkcaldy.
After returning from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, her husband again picked up his paint brush and was transferred to Falkirk Co-operative. He would then take up painting jobs with the Ogilvie Group in Stirling and Grangemouth Town Council before retiring.
Gordon and Margaret’s family grew in size when sons Graeme and Kenneth (57) came along and the diamond duo would later become proud grandparents-of-four.
Being with and looking after their family has always been a preferred pastime for the McDougalls.
They are also keen bowlers and members of the indoor carpet bowls club at Bonnybridge Community Centre, where Margaret is the president.
Gordon, who is also a gardener, joked when he was asked who the better bowler was and said: “I’m not going to start a war!”
Holiday highlights over the years have included visits to Florida to see their Stateside family, as well as coach trips.
And, as they contemplated the secret to a happy marriage, both were in full agreement.
Margaret said: “You just work things out between you if you’ve any disagreements.”
Gordon nodded and replied: “We had the occasional argument about things but we always got by it and just got on with our lives. It’s cooperation — if she stops shouting, I’ll stop shouting!”