A FORMER Motherwell couple have hailed dancing for keeping them active and enabling them to celebrate an incredible 70 years of marriage today (Wednesday).
Appropriately Andy and Marge Reid met at the dancing in Plymouth in 1942, while he was stationed there with the Navy during World War 2.
However they would quickly be separated as Andy, an electrical artificer was shipped to Tobermory, and was given a tropical kit fearing his next destination might be Freetown in Sierra Leone, then known as the ‘White Man’s Graveyard’.
Happily though he instead was returned to Plymouth and Marge, however as he was still no clearer about future destinations and after weeks of going out in the morning unsure if he’d return the couple decided to be married.
Unfortunately at the age of 19 Andy was too young to get married without his parents consent, but a special license was arranged and a £2 wedding dress procured as 21-year-old Marge didn’t have enough coupons.
Marge and her mother had been bombed out of the part of Plymouth they had lived in, but the Rev Noel Round from that parish took the service and on March 27, 1943, in All Saints Church became man and wife.
Marge, who worked in the laundry while Andy did his service, then got her £2 back by selling the dress to a friend who was marrying an American soldier the next week.
Of course the happy couple were unable to enjoy married life for long as in May all leave was cancelled and Andy found himself heading for destination unknown, which turned out to be Greenock.
From here he went aboard the Queen Mary to escort Winston Churchill to New York and onto to Seattle to collect a minesweeper that he would later use on D-Day.
Before that in December 1944, Marge gave birth to their first son Andrew, and after demobbing the family left Marge’s mum’s house and set up home with Andy’s mum who during the war had moved from Wishaw to Scotia Street in Motherwell.
Before long the family grew with the arrival of Archie and moved to a pre-fab in Watling Crescent where they remained for 18 years, along the way youngest son Ricky being born.
They then moved to Dundyvan Lane in Wishaw, where they have remained ever since.
As an engineer Andy’s skills were not short of demand, but after working in several places including Waddell’s Bakery, Rolls Royce and Millard Bros, it wasn’t until he started at Dalziel Steelworks that he felt truly happy.
Marge remained in the laundry business first at Avon Lodge and then when it closed to another care home in Wishaw until retiring aged 62.
Andy was also secretary of Lanarkshire Amateur Football Association, but found it took up too much of his time, although took a more passive interest in the game as a lifelong Motherwell fan and to this day watches games in the Former Player’s Association with a variety of club legends.
However neither has ever lost their love for dancing and can be found every Monday at the Colville Park Club strutting their stuff.
Andy joked: “Our quick foxtrot is rapidly becoming a slow waltz, but we have just always loved doing it and it keeps us active.”
The couple are currently enjoying a week’s holiday in Blackpool and expect to be joined by their three sons and the majority of their seven grand-children and four great-grandchildren.
However, they were anticipating becoming great-grandparents for a fifth time as we went to press.