Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

‘Till death do us part’: Double funeral of Forres couple Jean and Sandy Mackay

They died just 15 days apart after 65 years of marriage.

Forres couple Jean and Sandy Mackay.
Forres couple Jean and Sandy Mackay.

The sons of Forres couple Sandy and Jean Mackay, who died just 15 days apart, have paid tribute to their parents who shared a funeral.

Former champion of Forres Curling Club Sandy, and retired teacher Jean, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary just weeks before they both passed away.

Sandy Mackay, from Nairn

Alexander Mackay, known as Sandy, was born on July 12 1931 in Nairn. His father, William, was a builder, and his mother Jean looked after their seven children. Sandy attended primary school in Nairn then moved on to the town’s academy, and by the age of 14 had a job as a delivery boy with Coopers.

Though he was supposed to cycle to and from the “high-end grocery store”, Sandy couldn’t ride a bike at first. After pushing it around Nairn it soon became clear that learning on the job – however painful – would be the best way to complete his deliveries.

Sandy, second from the right, with some of his siblings.

At 18 Sandy was called up for national service. Serving as a Bren-gunner with the Seaforth Highlanders between 1950 and 1953, he was sent to Asia during the “Malayan Emergency”, engaging in tough, jungle warfare.

On his return Sandy resumed work with Coopers. At 23, based in Forres, he became the chain’s youngest manager.

Jean Wilkie Graham, raised in Airdie

Jean was born on August 25 1935 in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. The only daughter of John and Jean Graham, she lost her father when she was only six years old.

Following his death, she and her mother moved to Airdrie.

Jean Mackay as a girl, with her parents.

Living with her grandmother and aunt, Jean attended Airdrie Primary School then on to the academy, before studying for her primary school teaching certificate at Jordanhill College, Glasgow.

As a student, during holiday periods, Jean worked as a waitress in the Golf View Hotel, Nairn.

Falling in love

There, in 1956, Sandy and Jean met. After wooing her with a dance at the town hall and a “poke of chips” from Morganti’s they began courting.

A young Jean Mackay before she was married.

After graduating Jean spent her two-year probationary period at Calderbank Primary School in North Lanarkshire.

On December 27 1958 Sandy and Jean wed in Nairn Old Parish Church. That same year Jean secured her first full teaching post at Forres Primary School.

Sandy and Jean on their wedding day.

The couple’s first house was on Bank Lane, Forres. There, sons Colin and Graeme, were born.

The couple’s careers

Jean initially stopped teaching to raise the boys but was persuaded to return, providing teaching cover, at Applegrove Primary School.

What began as a short-term proposition lasted many years. During her teaching career, Jean continued to up-skill, gaining additional qualifications.

She also taught at Andersons and Forres Academy and qualified as an infant mistress, in nursery education and in both primary and secondary learning support.

The Mackay boys Colin and Graeme with their father, Sandy.

When Sandy was headhunted by Hutcheon’s of Turriff, the family moved to the Aberdeenshire town. Mr Hutcheon – who sold everything from animal feed to “fancy pieces” was so impressed with Sandy’s window displays in Coopers store he snapped him up for his own shop.

After the business was sold in the late 1960s Sandy and Jean returned to Forres. Employed by United Biscuits as a sales representative, Sandy rose through the ranks to become Scotland sales manager before retiring in the late 1980s.

Jean retired from teaching in the mid 1990s.

Making memories together

Throughout the years Sandy was a keen golfer – and Jean a “golf widow”.

A member of Forres Golf Club, Sandy only reluctantly gave up his membership aged 90.

His other sport was curling. A reserve player for the Scotland team in his younger years, Sandy was also part of Forres Curling Club, winning every club trophy, some more than once.

Sandy and his many curling trophies.

As a couple, the Mackays loved to spend time together, and enjoyed trips abroad. Visiting most Mediterranean holiday destinations in their earlier years, latterly they opted for cruising. The Norwegian Fjords were a favourite destination.

Celebration and sadness

For more than 65 years Sandy and Jean were by one another’s side but in December Sandy, who was experiencing some signs of dementia, broke his arm and was admitted to Dr Gray’s Hospital.

Though it wasn’t the party they’d hoped for, the couple were able to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary on December 27.

Jean, who had previously overcome bowel cancer and was more recently diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, also fell, breaking her hip.

She was admitted to the same hospital, in a different ward.

Sadly, Sandy continued to deteriorate and on January 10 he passed away peacefully in hospital.

Hoping she would be able to leave hospital to attend her husband’s funeral, Jean’s family began making plans to celebrate the life of Sandy.

It became clear, however, that Jean’s health was also beginning to decline.

Just 15 days after losing Sandy, Jean also passed away, on January 25.

Greatly missed

Their family made the decision to have a double funeral.

“It was exactly what they would have wanted,” said Colin.

“They were together all those years in life and when dad passed away we could see that mum wouldn’t be far behind. It was fitting that they were together that one last time.”

The family has expressed their gratitude to Andrew Smith Funeral Director for his team’s sensitive and compassionate handling of the double funeral.

Sandy and Jean are survived by their sons Colin and Graeme, daughter-in-law Julia and close family member Linda; their grandchildren Darren, Dale, Ross, Mhairi and Ziggy. They were also proud great-grandparents to Indie Rose Jones.

“They’re both deeply missed, by our whole family, and all those who knew mum and dad,” added Graeme.

You can read the family announcement here.