Golden wedding: Margaret and Joe McCue

When Margaret and Joe McCue locked eyes in a sweet shop in Edinburgh as youngsters, they had no idea that, more than 50 years later, they'd be celebrating their golden wedding.

Tuesday, 14th June 2016, 6:00 am
This golden couple celebrated their anniversary in Cape Town

The couple, who live in Cowplain, are both from Edinburgh and started courting when Margaret was 15 and Joe was 20.

Seventy-five-year-old Joe says: ‘At the time, I was managing a garage and Margaret was a hair stylist at the salon opposite.

‘I used to admire her from a distance, but I didn’t think she wanted to know me.’

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‘It was when we were both in the same sweet shop that we spoke for the first time.’

Soon after this, the couple went on their first date and had lunch in a restaurant.

Sixty-nine-year-old Margaret says: ‘I was so nervous that I spent ages looking at the menu. I’d never been taken out for lunch before.’

‘I got Joe to pick my meal for me because I couldn’t choose.’

In 1966 the couple got married at The Royal British Hotel in Edinburgh – but to this day, they have different thoughts about how getting married was first initiated.

Joe, who worked as a sales director for Daihatsu, says: ‘Margaret denies it, but one day she said to me, “When we get married...”

But Margaret, who is a housewife and volunteered for the Rowans Hospice for 17 years, says she would never be that forward.

‘I just know I wouldn’t have said something like that. We just agree to disagree,’ she chuckles.

Two years later, Margaret and Joe emigrated to Cape Town in South Africa, where they had their two sons, Gavin, 46 and Neil, 42.

The couple, who now have three grandchildren, lived there for 10 years, but came back to England because Margaret didn’t want her sons to have to do compulsory national service.

Although they no longer live in South Africa, Margaret and Joe still have an attachment to the place. They return to Cape Town every year and did so to celebrate their golden wedding.

‘We were joined by about 45 guests,’ says Joe. ‘We had the party at The Italian Club and got rock ‘n’ roll band The Playbacks to play for us.

Margaret gave each member of the band their own uniform with a golden ‘50’ printed on the t-shirts.

Gavin and Neil flew out from England to join their mum and dad, along with Margaret’s sister Mary, her niece Catriona and her friend Denise, all of whom surprised her.

Margaret says: ‘On the night of the party, Gavin said to me, “Mum, there’s someone behind you”.

‘It was my friend Denise, I started crying. It was such a fabulous evening. There was so much laughter and magic.’

Joe and Margaret are going on the Malt Shop Memories cruise later this year.

‘Margaret and I are very compatible,’ says Joe.

‘And you have to be. I hit the jackpot when I got her.

‘It was wonderful that our two boys came to the party. We’re a very close-knit family and those along with the others mean so much to us.’

When asked what she loves about Joe, Margaret gets teary.

‘Joe really looks after me. I know it’s old-fashioned, but there’s only one boss in the house – and that’s Joe.

‘Although I do like to let him think he’s getting his own way sometimes,’ she chuckles.