Ian and Tibbie’s happy trip to a diamond milestone

Ian & Tibbie Forrest of Lauder who are celebrating their Diamond Wedding Aniversary on Thurs 9th December.
Ian & Tibbie Forrest of Lauder who are celebrating their Diamond Wedding Aniversary on Thurs 9th December.
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IAN and Tibbie Forrest first met at the bus stop in Carfraemill in 1948.

Ian was waiting for the local service bus to take him home to his family’s Boon Farm near Lauder from technical college in Edinburgh where he was studying to be a motor engineer.

Berwickshire High pupil Tibbie Cessford, at 16, having alighted from her school transport, was awaiting the same connection to take her to Birkenside near Earlston where her father George worked as a shepherd.

“We chatted at the bus stop and then sat next to each other on our short journey ... we got on really well and, yes, we became childhood sweethearts,” recalled Tibbie this week.

Their relationship flourished and the pair spent many more bus journeys together: a special “date” being a trip to the cinema in Edinburgh.

They became engaged before Ian, having served his time as a mechanic, was called up to do his National Service with the 1st Battalion, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

But when he heard he was being sent overseas for active service in Korea, he popped the question and the pair were married at Ledgerwood Parish Church on December 9, 1950.

That means that today, Ian, 81, and Tibbie, 79, will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

And, weather permitting, they will enjoy a special family celebration on Sunday with their three children, six grandchildren and 10-month old Eilidh, their first great grandchild.

“We have a wonderful family and that has sustained us through the ups and downs of the past 60 years,” said Tibbie. “Marriage, like life, is all about pulling together and giving as well as taking. Ian and I were very lucky to find each other.”

Shortly after Ian was demobbed in 1952, his farmer father died and the couple took over the running of the family farm at Whitlaw.

Four years later, after the birth of their first two children Avril and Frank, Ian opened his own garage and repair workshop at East High Street, shortly before the arrival of their daughter Caroline.

But when Ian was refused planning permission to move to bigger premises in 1960, the Forrests decided to sell up and take advantage of the famous £10 passage to Australia, and the family settled in Adelaide where Ian became an agent for automotive parts.

Their Antipodean adventure lasted four years. Ian’s mother Janet was in poor health back in the Borders and died shortly after their return. The family had also been offered the chance to buy Thornielee Farm in Peeblesshire from Ian’s brother Rogan.

In 1967, the Forrests were back on the move, selling up the farm and moving to Turrah near Galashiels where Ian worked as a livestock manager with John Swan.

But with the closure of the town’s abattoir, Ian was made redundant.

“That was a difficult time,” recalled Tibbie. “A year earlier we had bought our present house in Under Loan Park in Lauder.”

It is a measure of Ian and Tibbie’s devotion to their family that they named their home Fravca: a combination of the first two letters of their children’s christian names.

Fortunately, Ian’s skill as a mechanic preceded him and, shortly after his redundancy, he was happy to go into partnership with Stuart Alister and Bill Walker at Lauderdale Garages in Lauder.

Although Ian retired in 1990, Tibbie continued working as manager for the Crombie Smith medical practice in the town until she, too, retired in 1996 after 24 years at the surgery.

Ian was able to fully indulge his passion for golf – he played off a handicap of four – and his service as an enthusiastic part-time greenkeeper earned him honorary membership of Lauder Golf Club earlier this year.

“Looking back, we seem to have been on the move for a lot of our time together, but we were always settled as a family and it didn’t seem so topsy-turvy at the time,” recalled Tibbie.

Sunday’s party will take place at Caroline’s house in Edinburgh.

“We can’t wait to have all our family together again,” said Tibbie.

“It will be a perfect anniversary present.”