Banter every day keeps diamond couple giggling

DEDICATED couple Jean and Jim Barker have celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary with a party for friends and family - and they put the success of their long, happy marriage down to the good-natured banter and laughter they share every day.

The couple, who were introduced by Jim's sisters, were both born and bred in Edinburgh. Jean, now 85, was born in Rodney Street and went to Canonmills School and Belleview School, and Jim, 88, was born in Waverley Buildings and went to Milton House and Moray House Schools.

They both served during the Second World War. Having joined the Territorial Army before the start of the War, Jim then signed up to serve with 8th Battalion, The Royal Scots, when hostilities broke out.

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He recalls: "I was stationed over in Fife, I became the company cook - there must have been about 90 lives saved when I packed up! I thoroughly enjoyed the job." He also served in England, being stationed in numerous locations including Wiltshire, Leatherhead and Lowestoft.

Jean also enjoyed her war-time service, joining the Royal Navy as a stewardess and serving in both Rosyth and London.

Jim was then reemployed by the firm he had worked for before the war, Laidlaw Drew combustion engineers, where he enjoyed working as a methods engineer. He worked for the firm in Leith and Sighthill for 45 years, until his retirement in 1980.

Jean worked in the New Victoria Cinema before and after serving in the Royal Navy, working with two of Jim's sisters, Isa and Margaret. Jean was then head usherette, and Jim often jokes about marrying a "leading lady of the theatre".

He says: "We hit it off and we are happy to say we are still good mates and enjoying each others' company."

While courting, they danced at the Palais, Fountainbridge and the Excelsior, Niddry Street.

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They were married at Richmond Craigmillar Church on 30 June, 1950 and had their reception at the Minto Hotel. Jean's (now late) twin sister Annie was bridesmaid, and Andrew Munro, Jim's best pal, was best man.

They have three daughters, Nancy, Evelyn and Jeanette, and each daughter has a son and daughter of their own.

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The couple also have two great grand daughters, Abbie and Layla.

They are both now enjoying retirement in sheltered housing in Colinton, and several of their neighbours there were among the family and friends to join them at their anniversary party at the Corn Exchange. The couple were also delighted to receive a telegram from the Queen, as well as cards and letters from several of their city councillors. The couple love to laugh as they constantly chatter and correct one another - and Jim says the secret of their long, successful marriage is: "Have a niggle at each other every day, and then forget about it."

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