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Mintlaw couple reveal secret to long marriage as they celebrate 65th anniversary

Mr Ritchie, 85, first laid eyes on his wife Mary, 84, during a village dance 65 years ago.

Mary and James Ritchie hold up their cars and from the royal monarchs as they celebrate their anniversary.
Mary and James Ritchie hold up their cars and from the royal monarchs as they celebrate their anniversary. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

A Mintlaw couple celebrating a special anniversary say that a successful marriage requires both parties “to work at it”.

And James and Mary Ritchie should know…

They’ve been married for 65 years, and James jokes that they’re still “working at it” to this day.

The pair chatted to us after receiving a card from King Charles and Queen Camilla to mark the milestone occasion.

They have showcased it proudly alongside a greetings card sent to them from the late Queen Elizabeth II five years prior.

The message arrived as family and friends gathered to celebrate the couple’s many years of wedded bliss.

‘I hope we can reach 70’

James, 85, first laid eyes on Mary, 84, during a village dance in the 1950’s.

On October 4 1958, the couple tied the knot before enjoying their reception at the Station Hotel.

After moving into their first house together, they had two sons and a daughter.

Anniversary cards from the Royal monarchs stand amidst an outpouring of well wishes from friends and family.
The couple proudly showcase their cards from His Majesty King Charles and Queen Camilla and the late Queen Elizabeth II. Image: Darrell Benns/ DC Thomson.

More than six decades on, the pensioners remain as devoted to one another as ever.

To celebrate their anniversary, the couple enjoyed a family meal before receiving a visit from the Deputy Lord Lieutenant and local councillor Anne Simpson.

James admits that marriage takes work from the moment you say “I do.”

He said: “At that time there were dances in the village halls and I think we met there.

“I’ll say this, anybody who’s married that length of time and says they’ve never had a tiff is speaking rubbish, I think.

“You’ve got to work at it from day one, from the day you get married and I’m still working at it. I hope we can reach 70.”

When asked what the key to a good marriage is, James said it takes a “bit of everything really.”

Mr Ritchie puts his arm around his wife Mary.
The Aberdeenshire couple met during a dance in the village of Mintlaw in the 1950’s. Image: Darrell Benns/ DC Thomson.

Mintlaw couple reflect on the good old times

When the couple met, James was working as a welder, as his soon-to-be bride worked in a local shoe shop.

Thinking back on their earlier days he explained how domestic duties were much harder then – like using a mangle instead of a washing machine.

He added: “It seems easier nowadays because they all have the latest gadgets.”

The couple pictured with councillor Anne Simpson (left) and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant (right). Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

As the couple raised their family in the Aberdeenshire village, they became a pillar of the community.

‘They are always together’

Mary devoted her time to the community, by helping at her local church.

Meanwhile, her husband dominated indoor and outdoor bowling and dedicated his time to watching his garden bloom.

The couple also love spending time with their four grandsons.

Their daughter, Linda Dempsie spoke lovingly about her parents, saying: “I just think it is amazing that they are both still here and they have been well all their days.

“They are always together, and they have always been involved in the community.”

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