Daredevil couple share secret of their sparkle

A COUPLE united by their love of adventure have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary and an 80th birthday within weeks of one another.

Jim Watt, 83, and his wife Norma, who turned 80 on Wednesday, have shared their love of sport and excitement for decades, ranging from rally driving to mountain climbing.

In typically adventurous style, after marking her birthday with a family meal at home, Norma is also planning to take a celebratory hot air balloon trip next week.

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Norma, who is from Penicuik, attended Penicuik Primary, while Jim was born in Loanhead and was a pupil at Bonnyrigg Primary School, now St Mary's Primary in Bonnyrigg.

They met while dancing at The Regal in Bonnyrigg, and were married in Edinburgh on March 31, 1951.

The couple settled in Bonnyrigg, where they have lived all their married lives. They have two children, Susan and Chris, and two grandchildren, Lewis and Abbie.

Norma worked first at Lilywhites in Edinburgh, where one of her roles was to deliver skis to Glenshee. She then had several other jobs before working for many years in various shops of the South of Scotland Electricity Board, now ScottishPower.

Jim entered the RAF but did not see wartime service as the war ended while he was still in training.

He worked at the papermill in Polton and then joined his family's landscape architecture business. While working there he trained as a chiropodist but never practised, choosing instead to continue in the family business, where he remained until retirement.

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The couple were united by their passion for sports and adventure.

In their younger days they both skied and played tennis, and over the years their hobbies have also included hill climbing and even rally driving during the mid-60s and early-70s.

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In the late 60s, Norma and her sister raised money for charity by competing in the Medecins sans Frontieres rally from Brooklands Race Track in Surrey to Monte Carlo. Jim competed in athletics while with the RAF, and enjoyed golf, squash and judo. In more tranquil moments he has also enjoyed painting.

The Watts love to travel and they began taking motoring trips across Europe in the 1950s. They have since visited America, Africa and India.

They celebrated their wedding anniversary with a gathering of family and friends at their daughter's house in Innerleithen, and then took a weekend break with the family at Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond.

They were also visited at home by Midlothian Provost Adam Montgomery and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Sir Robert Clerk.

Their daughter Susan said: "They are both adventurous - risk taking - and their spirit has kept a sparkle in their marriage. They are family people but also enjoyed their travelling and adventurous lifestyle."