Major milestone in the ongoing romance between Stenhousemuir’s former referee and his beloved ballroom dancing partner

editorial image

When they met each other at the swings in The Lido back in the 1950s a Stenhousemuir couple knew they were destined to spend their lives together.

Tommy Muirhead was but a teenager when he saw Isabel Smith for the first time and now, over 60 years later, they will be spending today (Thursday) celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

Tommy (80) said: “I come from Camelon and I was down there visiting my cousin when I saw her.”

Isabel (78) added: “There’s never been anyone else for any of the two of us.”

The couple became close friends from that day on and later got engaged.

They were married at Larbert East Church on April 4, 1959 and set up home in Muirhall Road and then Lamond View before settling in their current address in McLachlan Street, where they have lived together now for over half a century.

Tommy worked for 40 years at Laing Construction, but it was his other job that he is well known for – he was a grade one referee with the Scottish Football Association for 25 years.

“I refereed matches in Italy during the European Cup,” he said.

When he retired from the football pitch, Tommy moved onto his other great love – bowling. A member of Stenhousemuir Bowling Club, he also umpired matches at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Isabel, who worked as a shop assistant in Debenhams in Stirling and with renowned local newsagent David Love, never went to see Tommy at his matches over the years.

“I went once to a game up in Aberdeen,” she said. “But all I heard was them talking about the referee, so I never went back after that.”

What the couple did share was a love of ballroom dancing and they regularly competed in amateur contests down in the UK ballroom capital of Blackpool.

This happy hobby was sadly ripped away from them when Isabel was knocked down by a car and badly injured her leg 20 years ago.

The couple have two children, Colin (58) and Karen (49), four granddaughters and one great grandson, who will all be there with 70 more guests when they celebrate their 60 years together in fine style at Stenhousemuir Bowling Club.