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Couple celebrate 70 years of marriage

Alexander and Elizabeth Malcolm still have the receipt from their wedding reception.

HAVING A LAUGH: The happy couple.
HAVING A LAUGH: The happy couple.

In neat, old-fashioned handwriting, it lists the hire of two rooms, a piano, flowers, drinks, and dinner for 51 guests. Not bad for £15.

Today, the average wedding costs £18,000, but at a party to celebrate their 70th anniversary of yesterday, Mrs Malcolm was happy about how marriage had changed.

She said: "Marriage is still a strong institution, although relationships have become more casual. You've got to live with the times though and accept it. As the family grows, the way they live changes."

Looking over that old wedding receipt yesterday, Mrs Malcolm remembered clearly saving up to afford the £15 (accounting for inflation, it would be around £430 today).

"That was a lot of money in those days," she said. "And I'd saved up for it. We had to pay it upfront two days before the wedding."

At the time, Mrs Malcolm was working in a munitions factory making parts for Spitfires and Mr Malcolm was serving with the Army in Africa.

They were married while Mr Malcolm was on leave, the reception held at City Bakeries, a once-famous function hall in Clarendon Street in Glasgow, at 3pm on December 16, 1942.

Yesterday, at 3pm – 70 years on, to the second – the couple, who are both 92, raised a glass of champagne to celebrate the anniversary at the care home in Bearsden where Mr Malcolm now lives.

With them to celebrate were their three children – Elizabeth, 63, Christine, 68 and Colin, 56 – and most of their nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

"I think it's marvellous," said Christine. "A lot of people don't even get married now or think when it's not working, let's get divorced. You made the best of things then, got on with it. I always remember my dad's famous saying: 'My life started when I met your mum.' He doesn't want to talk about his life before that."

Mrs Malcolm, who lives in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, said their marriage had worked out so well because it was laid-back. "We've always worked together," she said. "Love and trust and a great family. There were stresses like bringing up children and not having a lot of money, but we got through it."

Mr Malcolm worked for most of his career as a gas fitter in the Govan and Drumchapel areas, while his wife worked for Fraser's. Mr Malcolm was also an elder of the Church of Scotland for more than 50 years and his main hobby was bowling.

Mrs Malcolm, on the other hand, has a few more modern interests. Yesterday, the 92-year-old was receiving anniversary messages on her BlackBerry (there was also a card from the Queen). She is on Facebook, has an iPad, a Kindle and has Sky TV at home so she can follow the sporting passion of her life: snooker.

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Families

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