We’ve spent fifty years honing our diplomacy

FORMER West Lothian councillor Tam Smith and his wife Wilma have celebrated their golden wedding.

The popular couple have said goodbye to the town where they have spent so much of their lives after celebrating 50 years of marriage.

Tam and Wilma Smith, who met at a dance in Linlithgow, will now spend their remaining days in the rural town of Dollar.

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They were only teenagers a year apart when they set eyes on each other, and were married two years later.

Tam, who owns a landscaping company and was an SNP councillor in St Ninians and St Michael’s wards between 1997 and 2003, said keeping household tensions to a minimum was key to their longevity.

The 69-year-old, originally from Maddiston, said he and his 68-year-old wife would sit for as long as it took to avoid long-running feuds.

He said: “We have never gone to bed in a huff. We have sat up all night and maybe two to sort it out. Otherwise these things can go on a long time.”

Although his council career had come to an end, he almost staged an upset by eating into MP Michael Connarty’s majority at the 2010 Westminster elections in the Linlithgow and Falkirk East ward.

Among his responsibilities within West Lothian’s SNP group was spokesman for education.

In 1999, he was even taken to hospital while campaigning, but recovered sufficiently to make a return to local politics.

The couple held their celebration on August 19 – a quiet occasion with close family – exactly 50 years after their wedding at St Michael’s Parish Church in Linlithgow, followed by a reception at the nearby Cross Cafe.

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Until a month ago they stayed on the town’s High Street before moving to Stirlingshire.

They have two children, Colin, 46, and 48-year-old Caroline, who between them have given them six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They all live in Linlithgow.