Sandy and Pat mark their diamond days

Sandy and Patricia Shirras, have been married for 60 years, 1956-2016
Sandy and Patricia Shirras, have been married for 60 years, 1956-2016

A couple who worked in Midlothian schools for many years last week celebrated their diamond wedding 
anniversary.

Sandy (80), and Pat Shirras (79), lived in Midlothian for 44 years, before moving back to their Aberdeenshire roots in 2005.

Pat recalled their relationship’s beginnings

She said: “We met in Aberdeen. We both worked in the same place, a cabinetmaking firm. Sandy was a wood carver and I worked in the office. I was 16, he was 17. We got married three years later, six weeks before he started his National Service, which was for two years. So we decided to get married before he went.

“When he came back he trained to be a technical teacher. He was at Penicuik High School for 16 years, then Newbattle High School for 14 years. My husband enjoyed teaching there. I was school secretary at Mauricewood Primary for 16 years, which I enjoyed as well.

“We moved to Midlothian in 1961. We have lots of happy memories bringing up our family in Penicuik. There has been a lot of changes in Midlothian. The roads are a lot busier. Penciuik is a much bigger place. It was more of a village when we went down. It’s a commuter town now. We still come back to Penciuik, to see our daughter Elaine. We still have friends there too.”

The couple were married at Woodside North Church in Aberdeen on April 21, 1956.

Pat recalled how she felt on the big day: “Very nervous. It was a nice sunny day, and we had about 50 family and friends there.

“Our honeymoon was very exciting, Saturday to Thursday in Perth! We were frozen the whole time there, so we were glad to get back!

What’s the secret of a long, happy marriage? “Goodness knows,” said Pat.

“I don’t think it’s right to say that we never have a cross word. That’s rubbish. If you have an argument, then clear the air, don’t let it fester.”

The couple have three children – Elaine Smith (55), Alan Shirras (57) and Linda Willis (52). They also have six grandchildren and one great grandchild.