Diamond couple have lost none of their old sparkle

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A couple who met at a dance more than 60 years ago have raised their glasses to toast their diamond wedding anniversary.

And ever since Jimmy Hope slipped the ring on wife Irene’s finger, the Mansfield Road couple have had more than they could ever have wished for during their married life.

Their biggest love and joy has been their family and their five daughters Eleanor, Lorraine, Valerie, Jill and Kirstie. Their family has since blossomed into seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren as well as one on the way.

With a smile and a twinkle in his eye, Jimmy recalled the first night he met Irene: “I was from Musselburgh and had been told that there were seven girls to every man in Hawick. So my pals and I hired a private bus to go to Hawick on a Saturday night to find out if this was true.

“Our first stop was the Bridge Bar where the Angling Club is now. After this we went to the Crown Hotel as there was a dance and a great band called the ‘Dixie Seven’ were playing. It was here that I saw Irene and asked her if she was dancing. She said yes and she ended up getting me to the bus after the dance had finished.”

Irene added: “Before Jimmy left on the Musselburgh bus he asked if he could write to me and I gave him my address. He wrote to me on the Sunday and I got the letter on the Tuesday or the Wednesday and wrote back to him right away.”

Looking back on their courtship, Irene said: “In those days Musselburgh was a long way as few people had cars but we still saw a lot of each other.

“I stayed at Weensland and on a Sunday night while we were walking up the waterside for Jimmy to catch the Edinburgh train, he said from out the blue that he thought we should getmarried. And that was it.”

And in the February of 1955 at St Mary’s Church, Jimmy and Irene tied the knot, with a reception at the Victoria Hotel.

At first the newly-weds lived in Musselburgh, but in due course came to Hawick and have remained in the grey auld toon ever since. Jimmy said: “I’m a Hawick man now. I brought my family up in Hawick, I’ve got a lot of friends in Hawick and I just love the place.”

Jimmy and Irene are both 80 and have not been blessed with the best of health over the past few years. Jimmy has had both prostate and lung cancer, while Irene had breast cancer. They said: “We’ve never been up or down you just have to get on with it. That’s life.”

And summing up their 60 years of marriage, Jimmy added: “Well, we still sit on the same settee together and I still wash the dishes, so everything has worked out fine.”

The Hopes celebrated their diamond wedding with a party at Hawick Rugby Club on Saturday night, surrounded by more than 100 family members and friends.