An act of gallantry in a cinema brought a couple together – and they have now celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.


Tommy and Betty Paterson met in 1960 when Betty was being thrown out of a cinema after being falsely accused of throwing an ice-cream carton at an usher. Tommy sprang to her defence, pointing out that she wasn’t guilty… and was ejected as well for his trouble!


They may have missed the film, but they found each other and have been a devoted couple ever since.


National Service took up the next two years for Tommy but, on his return, the pair were wed. Betty has lived all of her life in Blantyre, but Tommy had to move there to start their married life.


“It wasn’t a problem,” he said. “I would have gone to the ends of the earth for her.”


Both worked in the Post Office, Tommy being the postmaster in Blantyre – where he earned his nickname ‘Giro’ through his expertise in confirming the identities of locals when they were cashing their giro cheques – and Betty working as a cleaner in the sorting office.


Blantyre Victoria FC has also played a big part in their lives, with both involved over the years and Tommy being honoured with a certificate for 54 years service with the Vics as treasurer and groundsman. He only ‘retired’ when he turned 80 but retains an involvement, continuing to serve as a trustee.


The couple brought up five children – Andrew, David, Alison, Linda and Kenny – who in turn have given them grandchildren Kimberley, Scott, Jennifer, Ben, Nicola and Charles, and great-grandchildren Iona, Caiden, and Sophie Mae.


The family enjoyed a great celebration together, but Tommy and Betty also received two other visitors: South Lanarkshire’s Deputy Provost Bert Thomson and Deputy Lieutenant for Lanarkshire Sandy Wilkie, both of whom presented the couple with gifts to mark their landmark Diamond Anniversary.


Both the Deputy Provost and the Deputy Lieutenant are also from Blantyre and so Tommy and Betty had the chance to chat about a host of people, places and experiences common to them all.


And fortunately on this occasion, no ice cream was thrown!

Posted by Gavin Whitefield