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Campbeltown couple Pat and Sandy McPherson have two golden reasons to celebrate this weekend.
Not only did Pat, the conserve queen behind Kintyre Preserves, pick up a gold prize for her lemon and ginger marmalade at The World’s Original Marmalade Awards, but today (Friday, July 30) marks the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary.
Patricia McKinven married Alexander McPherson at Campbeltown’s Highland Parish Church on July 30 1971.
Both were born and brought up in Campbeltown and attended Campbeltown Grammar School (CGS) three years apart.
The pair went on to become secondary school teachers – Pat in modern languages and Sandy in physical education.
After a few years living away, the couple returned to their home town ‘for two or three years’ but remain here more than 40 years later, both now retired from CGS.
And what started off as a hobby to fill Pat’s spare time after finishing her teaching career 15 years ago has turned into a thriving business.
Pat always enjoyed cooking and baking but didn’t have much time for it while teaching.
Kintyre Preserves’ product list now features an incredible 41 jams, marmalades and chutneys.
‘It all started by chance one wet summer and then I got hooked,’ Pat explained.
‘Everyone loves homemade produce and people would ask me for more products and different flavours. I’ve improved over the years.’
Pat says Sandy has nothing to do with the cooking process, describing his role in the business as ‘chief taster and delivery boy’.
Her most recent win at The World’s Original Marmalade Awards, a prestigious artisan awards scheme supported by Fortnum and Mason, is not her first.
For several years, Pat has come away from the competition with prizes for a variety of products, despite thousands of entries being submitted from all over the world.
The winners are usually invited to collect their prizes at a gold-winners’ reception at Dalemain Mansion in Cumbria but that was not possible this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Given that the lemon and ginger marmalade is one of my newer products, it’s an honour to have won gold,’ Pat said. ‘I’m delighted.’
Pat and Sandy have two sons, Rory and Lorne, and five grandsons, Charlie, Ross, Euan, Archie and Callum, who will be among those joining them for a double celebration on the Isle of Arran this weekend.