Sparks flew in Glen Village when electrician Duncan met his Wilma

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A couple celebrate diamond wedding anniversary today surrounded by family marking a marriage that has been as happy as it has been long.

When Duncan McNiven first set eyes on Wilma Hamilton they were children who lived across the road from each other in Glen Village.

Wilma (78) said: “We started going out together when I was 14 and he was 18. We got and we got engaged when I was 16 and we got married when I was 18 and he was 22.”

Duncan (82) was in the middle of his national service, which saw him stationed at Catterick and Tidworth in England during his two years with the 3rd Dragoon Guards tank regiment, when he was married to Wilma by Reverend Neil Campbell at St Modan’s Parish Church in Falkirk, on October 1, 1959.

Wilma said: “It was a great day with brilliant sunshine.”

When Duncan finished his stint with the army he worked as an electrician for Mayes in Falkirk, while Wilma was employed as a hairdresser with Bishops in Falkirk and later worked as a home help for a few years.

Duncan actually enjoyed two successful careers – as an electrician with the road lighting departments of Stirling County Council and Central Regional Council for 27 years before taking early retirement at 57.

After two years off he was back in action, driving for the out of hours doctors service before retiring again 15 years later at the age 77.

The McNiven’s were blessed with a son, Stuart (58), and daughter, Morag (56) and the family has now grown to include four grandchildren, Laura (33), Ross (32), Rebecca (31) and Elliot (28), and one great grandchild Lily (7).

Wilma said: “Our family lives in Falkirk and Shieldhill, so they are quite close by.”

And they will all be present and correct – including son-in-law Gordon and daughter-in-law Hazel– at Falkirk’s Boardwalk restaurant tonight for a special gathering organised by the family to mark Duncan an Wilma’s big milestone.

The couple, who still live in Glen Village, say sharing is the key to a long and happy marriage.

Wilma said: “We just agree with each other – not all the time, but nothing serious.”

Duncan added: “We both like working in the garden together too.”

The McNivens were also a serious caravaning couple in the 1970s before spreading their wings and heading abroad – Tenerife was a favourite destination for them and their life long friends Bert and Margaret from Cumbernauld, who had shared many an adventure with them over the years.

Duncan first met Bert when the two of them were doing their national service and their friendship has lasted as long as the McNiven’s amazing marriage.

Wilma said: “I didn’t imagine we would even get to 60 years of marriage – we’re still around at this age so we are very fortunate. We always knew we would be together though and would never break up.”

“It’s a very happy marriage,” said Duncan.