A loving couple who dreamed of retiring to the Highlands but were robbed of the chance are finally united forever in Inverness.
Kinlochleven farmer’s son Tom and Pauline Buchanan, a farmer’s daughter from Roscommon, met and fell in love on the Glasgow dance floors of the 1950s.
Tom, dashing and handsome, was in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as an engineer, travelling the world and loving every minute.
Pauline was studying nursing in Glasgow, and as soon as Tom laid eyes on her, his life plan changed.
He would give up life on the ocean wave, marry Pauline and they would emigrate to New Zealand.
This they did, and spent 35 happy years in Auckland.
The pair returned frequently to the Highlands for holidays, and vowed that one day they would return to Tom’s beloved Inverness and pass the rest of their lives there.
But it was not to be.
In 1999 Pauline died of a brain tumour, aged 67, leaving Tom completely devastated.
To make good on the couple’s dreams, he arranged for Pauline’s body to be flown to Inverness, buying a plot in Kilvean cemetery.
Last month Tom died and has been laid to rest by his family next to his beloved wife in Kilvean, bringing their eternal love full circle.
Tom had strong Highland roots.
His father, Allan, was born at Caolas Na Coan, a sheep farm near Kinlochleven, which his grandfather, William Buchanan, rented from Lord Strathcona.
It would later become a POW camp for German prisoners in the First World War.
Allan lied about his age to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps, aged 17, during the Great War and underwent training in Oxford, only to be shot down over France.
Farmers managed to smuggle the badly injured Allan to the coast where he made it safely to hospital in England.
The hospital was promptly bombed by the Germans, but Allan survived, worked in India and Glasgow for many years, surviving to the age of 89.
Meanwhile, Tom’s love of Inverness stemmed from his experiences staying with his grandparents in Stephen’s Brae when he was sent there to see out the Second World War.
These were some of the happiest times of his life.
He attended Crown School and Inverness Royal Academy, making many close friends and lifelong memories to treasure.
His links to the Highland capital were numerous.
His great-grandfather, William Budge, had his own builders and stonemason company in the city, building the Royal Academy School and many houses in the Crown area.
His grandfather, George Mackay, was a member of the famous Lovat Scouts and fought in the Boer War.
He later returned to Inverness, opened its first bicycle shop and was awarded the Freedom of Inverness for his duty to King and country.
When he was 17, Tom’s father decided he should go to agricultural college in Glasgow.
Tom didn’t enjoy it, lasted a year and then left.
Before joining the Royal Navy’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary, he trained as a marine engineer at the Clyde Navigation Trust, and went on to work for companies such as Drysdale & Co Engineers in Yoker, Hotpoint and the Singer Manufacturing Company in Clydebank.
Once he and Pauline had moved to New Zealand, he carried on in engineering work, while Pauline rose through nursing to become a highly respected theatre staff nurse.
Happily, Tom’s brother, Allan, also emigrated and bought a small farm near Tom and Pauline – named Caolas na Coan after their father’s Kinlochleven farm.
Tom’s nephew, Graham Campbell, was close to him in his later years, often taking him out and about.
He said: “Tom and Pauline were a beautiful couple, great dancers, always sharply dressed.
“Pauline called Tom ‘the Italian Prince’ because he was 6ft tall and had very fine features.
“He was a real man’s man and a gentleman, quite wild, and he loved talking to people.
“Pauline was quieter and deeper so they were a lovely combination.
“He is sorely missed but it is comforting that he is now laid to rest alongside his beautiful wife, Pauline.”