Walter and Agnes Murdoch will take their place among an elite group of married couples when they celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary next Wednesday.
The husband and wife are resident in Ramsay Road and wed in 1942, shortly after first exchanging glances at the mansion at West Nisbet Farm, near Ancrum, where they worked as a farm hand and nanny respectively on behalf of the wealthy Inglis family from Edinburgh.
“I was the nanny there and he was in the garden – that’s the first time I saw him,” remembered Agnes. “He was raking leaves under the trees and I was in the nursery and I saw him.”
As Walter explained to the Hawick News, the pair’s romance properly began on a fateful night of dancing at Nisbet village hall.
“She used to go with my cousin,” he recalled. “He was her boyfriend before me. We had a dance at Nisbet village hall this night, and my cousin came into the dance with another girl. Agnes came round from the mansion house and another fella and I were on the door. The other guy said to her, ‘You’ve not been paid in – your boyfriend is sitting up there with another girl.’ I said, ‘I’ll pay you in’, and that was the start of the romance.”
They danced together during that wartime evening of 1940, and the rest is history.
“We were married during the war, in 1942, because Walter was set to go away,” said Agnes, recalling how her new husband was called up by the army to serve for three-and-a-half years. She remained as a nanny during her entire working life, while Walter laboured on farms, initially as an “odd laddie”, controlling one horse, and then as a “hind”, operating two.
After giving birth to four children of their own, the pair now count 42 relatives among their immediate family, taking into account 12 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
Seventy years of marriage down the line, Agnes is better-placed than most to explain the secret to a happy partnership. “It’s difficult to say, because everybody’s not the same,” she said. “A little bit of give and take is more important than anything.”
They have celebrated numerous marriage milestones, and the couple are set to enjoy an understated celebration for their platinum wedding anniversary with a trip to Yorkshire with members of their beloved family.