Buchan couple celebrate 70th wedding anniversary

A popular Buchan couple celebrated a major milestone, marking 70 years of marriage with an afternoon tea and the well wishes of friends, family and the Queen.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 4:14 pm
Buchan couple Jean and Sandy Thom received many messages of congratulations on their 70th wedding anniversary.
Buchan couple Jean and Sandy Thom received many messages of congratulations on their 70th wedding anniversary.

Jean (90) and Sandy Thom (92), who live in Kininmonth near Mintlaw, received flowers from Councillor Norman Smith on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council, and a bouquet from Lonmay Church where Sandy was an elder. Sandy previously was awarded a long-standing award for his service to the church.

The duo were honoured to receive a card from Her Majesty, with Sandy delighted to “add to their collection” having received similar notes from the Monarch on their 60th and 65th anniversaries.

The happy couple didn’t let Covid restrictions dampen their celebrations, enjoying video chats with many of their family, which includes two daughters, four granddaughters and eight great grandchildren. Daughters Mary and Wilma now live in Mintlaw and New Deer respectively, while tragically son Eric died in a plane accident over Asia in 1984. Ranging in ages from two to 20, the great-grandchildren have been credited by Jean and Sandy as keeping them in good health as “there has always been a young one around to keep us feeling young too”.

Jean and Sandy on their wedding day, trying to cut their cake with the knife upside down!

Jean, affectionately known as ‘GT’ (Granny Thom) by her family, spent much of her career working as a home help in the Banff & Buchan area, receiving an MBE from the Queen in 1996 for her service across Grampian.

Sandy spent his career as a farmer at Mains of Kininmonth. He was also involved in the local community council, campaigning tirelessly to ensure that rural schools were kept open in the 1970s.

It was at a dance in Kininmonth that the duo met in 1949, marrying two years later, with barely a cross word between them ever since. The closest they came to an argument was when Jean carried the TV remote control in their car for over three weeks mistakenly thinking it was her mobile phone, as Sandy turned the house upside down looking for it!

As part of a traditional long-running joke between the couple, Jean and Sandy cut their 70th anniversary cake with the knife blade upside down; as they mistakenly did on their wedding day in 1951. They have done the same every anniversary since as a good luck symbol.

Since retirement, Sandy has kept his mind active by doing wordsearches and puzzles, while the annual Christmas card game with his sons-in-law has kept his competitive spirit alive. Sandy’s family has also been delighted to receive his delicious new tatties every year, grown from the garden he enjoys spending many hours in. Jean enjoys socialising and taking a keen interest in the lives of the youngsters in the family, while also tending to her house and cats.

So, what’s the secret to such a long and happy marriage? Sandy simply says: “As long as you have your health, it’s easy enough.”

Jean, meanwhile, credits “a bit of give and take” for the longevity of their marriage.

“Time has passed quickly; we’ve always enjoyed time with our loved ones”, adds Jean. “We’ve always had little ones around us, it’s felt like having an extended family.”