JEDBURGH couple Charlie and Ina Lowrie celebrated their diamond anniversary this week.
The two octogenarians of Queens Court marked the milestone with an open house for friends and family on Tuesday, exactly 60 years to the day since they were married.
Asked the secret to such a long union, Charlie, 88, said: “The secret is give and take. We used to help one another, cooking and things like that, and we very seldom went out without one another.
“My wife is very loving and caring and she looks after me, and I try and look after her as well. We care for each other and that’s it, that’s all there is to it.”
The pair met at a dance in the British Legion in Jedburgh when Charlie, the son of a chauffeur and lorry driver, was 23 and Ina, the daughter of a shepherd who was born at Gateshaw, near Morebattle, was 19.
It was five years later and after Charlie had moved to Coventry that the couple decided to marry.
“My wife would come to visit me and we just decided, that’s enough, we want to be together.
“We had a pretty rough time of it to start with, but we overcame that and we prospered well after that. We had a grand life.”
From Jedburgh, Charlie was in the RAF for five years. After demobilisation, he was a maintenance fitter in the town before moving to work for an electrical firm in Rugby, then moving to Coventry for what was he describes as a “dream job”.
He was involved in developing rockets, first as a fitter then as the man in charge of rocket test sites.
“I just loved it,” he told us this week. And he stayed 28 years, through all the company takeovers, latterly working for Rolls Royce.
Over that time he was involved in developing space rockets, including the Black Knight, the British launch vehicle to test the design of a re-entry vehicle for the Blue Streak missile; the Black Arrow, a British satellite carrier rocket developed during the 1960s and used for four launches between 1969 and 1971; and Blue Streak itself, a British medium-range ballistic missile aimed at maintaining an independent British nuclear deterrent.
Of those 28 years, 22 were spent on rockets, then latterly Charlie worked on experimental torpedoes, before being in charge of building gas turbines for warships, many of which served in the Falklands War.
Ina, meanwhile, worked for electrical companies in Jedburgh and Coventry, then moved to a firm making engines before moving to Jaguar.
The couple returned to Jedburgh in 1980 when Charlie worked for toolmakers LS Starrett for three years before retiring.
And that was when the pair took up sequence dancing, attending dances up to six days a week.
“I think that’s what has helped us live longer, because we got the exercise, and they used to bring out new sequences all the time so that kept your mind going at the same time.
“We met such a lot of nice people – it was great and it kept us fit,” said Charlie, who also won prizes for his gardening in the local flower show.
The pair didn’t have children because they were saving up for a house.
“You couldn’t get houses, we couldn’t even buy a house, not like in the Borders.
“We had to save up. We were living in rooms and if you had children they would throw you out. But we were still very happy.
“My wife stuck by me all the time, especially when I got this job on the rockets and we had to live down there.”
The pair enjoyed their anniversary on Tuesday.
“There have been people here all day, it’s been lovely, “ said Charlie.