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A Bellochantuy couple whose love blossomed at a 1960s church youth club are celebrating 50 years of marriage today (Friday, October 9).
After a series of romances of which his parents were not overly approving, Calum Morrison found his perfect match in Margaret MacVicar, a chorister at St Columba’s Church in Greenock where his father, Reverend Donald Morrison, was the minister.
The pair first got to know one another at a youth club Calum’s father asked him to set up.
‘My clever father was probably surreptitiously guiding his flighty son towards the very eligible girls in the congregation,’ Calum said. ‘I didn’t realise it at the time how life changing and momentous the youth club was to be in shaping our future lives.’
It was not all plain sailing, however, as Calum learned that Margaret was already going out with another of the boys from the youth club.
‘Undaunted, I discreetly chatted to her and told her I knew who she was dating. From her reaction I surmised she was not that keen on him. Boldly, I suggested that perhaps she would rather go out with me,’ Calum said.
‘When she said that perhaps she would, I was elated and arranged to meet her the following week after her night school class, on April 1 1968. Imagine – April Fools’ Day!’
The young couple realised they both had a connection to Kintyre – Calum’s mother, Ina McSporran, grew up at Low Dunashery Farm, and met his dad shortly after he was ordained and inducted as the minister of the church at Bellochantuy, while Margaret is related to the MacVicars of Southend.
They became engaged in August 1969 and made plans for their wedding on October 9 1970. They were married in St Columba’s Church by Calum’s father, Reverend Morrison, assisted by Reverend Archy MacVicar, Margaret’s uncle.
‘There was another minister there, Reverend Richard Snoddon, who was a close family friend,’ Calum added, ‘so we were well married, having three ministers there!’
Calum and Margaret went on to have two daughters, Wendy and Kirsty, and welcomed a grandson, Ben, two years ago.
The couple had hoped to host a golden wedding anniversary celebration with family and friends at Bellochantuy Hotel, next door to their home, but it is not possible this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. They plan instead to enjoy a quiet meal together at the hotel, and hope to be able to host a larger celebration in the future.
They bought the cottage in which they now live 25 years ago, coming to visit several times a year, eventually moving permanently when they both retired.
Asked about the secret to a successful marriage, Calum said: ‘It’s caring for one another, and about give and take, looking after each other, giving love and understanding, and doing your best for one another. I consider myself a very well looked-after person and I try to reciprocate that.
‘Of course within 50 years of marriage, life would not be normal without the high points and low points that we all experience at some time in our lives. Both of us agree that we have been blessed with more joyful and wonderful occasions than moments in time of despair and sorrow.
‘We both still love each other and continue to enjoy each other’s company. We don’t disagree often. We both accept each other’s idiosyncrasies, eccentricities and peculiarities. Margaret should get a medal!
‘The longest paths lead into sunlight when they are paved with love.’