Bill and Gina are still on the rails 72 years after blind double date

WHEN Bill Wood prepared nervously for a blind date on a June evening in 1938, he could surely have had no idea how it would change his life.

For that night at the dance hall was when he was first introduced to Gina - and they have just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

They were on a double date with each of their best friends - who ended up getting hitched too.

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The couple, who have lived in Edinburgh all their lives, are set to celebrate the landmark date with a party for 18 family and friends aboard a steam train in Bo'ness.

Sadly, their best friends, Gordon and Helen Edward, have now passed away, but they will be raising a glass to the late couple, who they credit as one of the forces which brought them together.

Gina, 91, and Bill, 96, from Blackhall, who celebrated their anniversary this week, said there was no secret to lasting the distance.

Gina said: "We're not a particularly out-of-the-ordinary couple. My best friend suggested we go out on the date to the dancing hall, and it turned out to be a very good night indeed. We just got on well and kept going on dates. Then, before we knew it, we'd got engaged. We didn't get a ring for ages because we didn't have enough money. We couldn't even afford to buy a wedding dress, so I wore a suit. But it was never about the money, it was all about the love."

Just two years after they met, the couple exchanged their vows at the registry office on West Maitland Street.

They moved to a house in Queensferry Road, near the family business, Maidencraig Garage - now a Tom Farmer Autocare outlet - which had been passed on to Bill by his father.

Gina, who had worked as a tea merchant importing and exporting tea, later joined her husband at the garage, where they worked until retirement.

They also raised three children, Bill, Anne and Janet.

Gina, originally from Gorgie, said: "Bill worked seven days a week to make the business work, but it wasn't so bad because I was there in the later years. We had our ups and downs, but I believe you should stick to it, as long as there are more ups.

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"We were friends with Gordon and Helen for life, although we didn't go on any more double dates."

Their grandson, Tony, 36, from Gorgie, organised the celebration with his sister Lesley. He said he wasn't surprised his grandparents had maintained their relationship.

He said: "They were always very traditional in their view of relationships. You have to say that it is quite amazing and something to be celebrated.

"Although, it has been a struggle finding a 70th anniversary card. In the end, I had to get one handmade."

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