An Inverurie couple celebrated 70 years of happy marriage yesterday (Wednesday) surrounded by family members, some of whom travelled home from Australia to mark the occasion.
Agnes and James Petrie brought five children into the world and have 11 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren to their name.
The couple celebrated their great day with a family lunch at the Acorn Centre following a visit from Inverurie and District Councillor, Richard Cowling who brought gifts of flowers and a bottle of ten-year-old malt on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council. But James, who is in the mood for a party said: “We’re having a big get-together at the Kintore Arms on Friday for family and friends. We decided to do it on Friday so people don’t have to go to work the next day.”
Agnes and James first met on a bus travelling from Brechin to Arbroath and without question, it was love at first sight. They became inseparable, so much so, that James, who was in the Gordon Highlanders, broke many army rules, to the point of committing Court Martial offences, all to be with his sweetheart. Somehow his cheeky nature saw him through, he got away with it and the abundance of medals are a testament to his wartime service.
Their courtship saw several visits to the cinema. James said: “I went out without a pass so we went to the pictures a lot to dodge the military police.”
Within ten short weeks. Agnes and James were married to the consternation of friends and family who said it would never last. With a chuckle James said: “It lasted a wee whiley longer than that.”
James had to seek permission from the army to wed his girl. He was in the throes of being transferred to the Argyles, because of a broken foot, but James refused to obey orders. He said: “I told them if I’m not fit for the Gordon Highlanders, then I’m not fit for the Argyles.” He refused to wear his cap and Agnes and he were married in spite of the fact that James’ request had been rebuked. In spite of his army antics, his military career was exemplary.
Subsequently, James was transferred to the Engineers before leaving the army and taking up his trade as a stonemason.
In the early days of their marriage, the couple lived with James’ parents in Inverurie, before their children came along. The family enjoyed holidays within the UK and over a period of about 20 years James ran a netball tournament for the local primary schools. With 40 teams to look after, it was a busy time for James, and over a similar period, Agnes was a cleaner at the Academy. She was also an active member of the Church Guild.
In subsequent years the couple have enjoyed several trips to Australia to visit their sons and their families. In all, Agnes and James have been blessed with good health and have looked after each other well through the years.
James said of their lasting marriage: “Give and take has a lot to do with it. It’s a shame - people don’t give marriage a fair go these days, they fly off the handle and before you know it, they part.
“When we had a difference of opinion, we would just walk away and forget it, we would never start an argument.