David and Emma count six decades of wedded bliss

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DAVID Graham and Emma Barker grew up at opposite ends of the town, but, having been introduced at a dance at a local hotel, they have spent 60 years together in married harmony.

David attended the old Wilton primary school as a boy, while Emma was a pupil at St Cuthbert’s. A year apart, they both attended the high school, before Dave left to become a painter and, later, sign up to the army aged 19.

He went on to serve as janitor at Drumlanrig school for almost 30 years, while Emma weaved a career as a tweed mender and then a hosiery mender. She was known to many as having served at the shop belonging to Sam Barker, an ex-Acting Father, located in the old arcade.

Dave and Emma knew of each other before finally meeting at a dance in the early-1950s. Emma had babysat on behalf of an aunt and uncle of Dave’s, but it was not until they met one night at the Crown Hotel’s ballroom that romance blossomed.

Dave had just left the army, and the pair ended up courting for the following 18 months.

“Like an awful lot of other fellas there, we met girls at the dance when we arrived,” recalls Dave. “I met Emma, and we progressed from there.

“Once I met her, that was it. I knew she was the one.”

The couple married at West Port Church in Drumlanrig Square on September 19, 1952, and made their home in the town, flitting between a number of addresses throughout their time together.

“We’ve had a normal life together,” says Dave. “I feel lucky we’ve been 60 years together.”

Emma gave birth to a daughter, Alison, in 1958 and to a son, Derek, two years later. They have since been graced by three grandsons and a granddaughter: Barry and Simon by Alison (now living in Selkirk), and Hawick-based Derek’s children Mark and Ashley.

Now aged 83 and 82 respectively, Dave and Emma have lived happily at Melgund Place for the past 29 years. In terms of significant numbers, the big 6-0 – and a Diamond Wedding – was all that figured in their minds last week as they celebrated six decades of wedded life together.