A Bonnyrigg couple whose love for dancing brought them together 65 years ago recently celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.
Stewart (80) and Thora (81) Forrest have lived in Midlothian all their lives. Thora from Penicuik, and Stewart from Lasswade, met at a dance hall in St Mungos, Penicuik aged 16, and married at 20. On retiring the couple gave time to fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support, and through a series of old time supper dances made over £20,000 for the charity. The couple have six grandchildren.
“The secret is working together,” said Thora.
“Caring for each other and just putting up with each other and a lot of humour, which is important. We have had some nice friends, who we have still kept through the years. We all get along together. I think all of these things are very important.
“And we did like dancing. We went to the Regal in Bonnyrigg four or five times a week. The bands were very good. You had Ronnie Fisher from Newtongrange, Jim Abbot from Loanhead.
“We would like to still be able to dance, but Stewart has Parkinson’s so he is not able to do these things the same.
“I still do a lot of walking with the Midlothian Walking Group.
“Stewart is still a keen supporter of Bonnyrigg Rose. And still attends the games. He used to provide their match reports for the Edinburgh News and Dispatch.”
Stewart was a motor mechanic with Alexanders in Edinburgh and Thora was an invoice typist with James Brown and Company in Penicuik, and then Henry Widnell and Stewart in Bonnyrigg. After their children Craig and Susan were born, Stewart became managing director of Laidlaw Ford at Portobello.
Recalling their wedding day in 1966, Thora said: “We walked from St Mungo’s Church in Penicuik across to the Royal Hotel for the reception. It was a quiet wedding. We decided that as we didn’t have a lot of cars it would be easier to have a quietish wedding. For our honeymoon we went to Perth. We used my dad’s car – a Hillman – which he loaned it to us to get there. We stayed at the Waverley Hotel for four or five days. It was lovely.”