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Mintlaw couple mark milestone anniversary by maintaining unusual cake-cutting tradition 70 years on

Sandy and Jean Thom celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.
Sandy and Jean Thom celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

Maintaining a tradition they have now followed 70 times, a north-east couple celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary by cutting a celebratory cake with an upside-down knife.

It is a long-running joke between the couple, Sandy Thom, 92, and his wife Jean, 90, who recreated once more the moment, on their wedding day in 1951, the mistakenly cut their cake in an unusual fashion.

They have done the same every anniversary since as a good luck symbol, often recalling the amusement shared by friends and family on the day.

And that luck has stuck with them as they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this week with an afternoon tea and a host of good wishes delivered to their home in Kininmonth, near Mintlaw.

There were also flowers from Aberdeenshire Council and Lonmay Church and an array of video calls from their family.

They also added a third card from the Queen “to their collection”, having received similar notes of congratulation from the monarch on their 60th and 65th anniversaries.

The pair met at a dance in Kininmonth in 1949 and married two years later.

They had three children, with daughter Mary and Wilma still staying nearby, in Mintlaw and New Deer, respectively.

They lost their son Eric in a plane accident over Asia in 1984.

Their large family joined in the congratulations via video chat due to the coronavirus lockdown, with the pair enjoying calls from their daughters, four grand-daughters and eight great-grandchildren, aged between two and 20.

It’s that ever-expanding family that Mrs Thom says has helped keep the couple young and in good health.

Those “little ones” and having their family nearby are what the couple credits a long and happy marriage to.

Mr Thom said: “As long as you have your health, it’s easy enough.”

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

“Time has passed quickly,” Mrs Thom added. “We have always enjoyed time with our loved ones.

“We’ve always had little ones around us and it’s felt like having an extended family.”

The pair have offered up years of service to their community between them, with Mr Thom farming at Mains of Kininmonth, acting as a community councillor and an elder at Lomnay Church.

Mrs Thom, meanwhile, was awarded an MBE from the Queen in 1996 for her years of service as a home help across Grampian.

Since retirement, Mr and Mrs Thom say they have enjoyed gardening and socialising, respectively, to keep them busy and active.

They reckon there’s been barely a cross word said between them in the 70 years since saying “I do”, with the closest they’ve ever came to an argument being when Mrs Thom carried the TV remote control in their shared car for over three weeks, mistakenly thinking it was her mobile phone, as her husband turned the house upside down looking for it.

The couple have received the first dose of their Covid vaccination and look forward to celebrating with their family when the situation allows.

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