Cou­ple still danc­ing in Skip­ness after 60 years

Argyllshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

A SKIP­NESS cou­ple who met at a dance – and spent so long danc­ing at their wed­ding re­cep­tion that peo­ple had to re­mind them to leave – are cel­e­brat­ing 60 years of wed­ded bliss.

Dun­can Shaw first met Jean McLaren in Skip­ness pri­mary school when Dun­can was nine and Jean was eight, but it wasn’t un­til a dance in the 1950s that Dun­can, now 85, asked Jean out – ‘maybe after a few hints’, adds Jean, 84.

The young cou­ple en­joyed go­ing for walks through the glen and it was on one of those strolls in Jan­uary 1956 that Dun­can, a gar- dener at Skip­ness Es­tate all his work­ing life, pro­posed to Jean.

The fol­low­ing year, on Wed­nes­day July 31, 1957, at 5pm, they be­came Mr and Mrs Shaw, when they were mar­ried in Saint Bren­dan’s Church, Skip­ness by min­is­ter Ge­orge H Green. Dun­can’s brother Wil­lie, now liv­ing in Camp­bel­town, was the best man and Jean’s sis­ters Janet and Fiona were brides­maids along­side her lit­tle cousin, Mar­garet.

Jean, who trained as a nurse be­fore her mar­riage, said: ‘My dress was made by a lady called Mrs Thom­son who lived in the vil­lage. I got the pat­tern and chose the ma­te­rial and she did the rest. She was a very tal­ented lady.

‘The only thing I can re­mem­ber from the wed­ding was my fa­ther hav­ing to tell me to slow down when we were go­ing up the aisle.’

The new­ly­weds held a re­cep­tion in the vil­lage hall after the cer­e­mony. Dun­can said: ‘We got cater­ers in from Camp­bel­town and a band from Tar­bert called the Stone­field Band. Ev­ery­one in the vil­lage was in­vited to the dance.’

Jean added: ‘We en­joyed the dance very much – peo­ple had to ask us if it wasn’t time we were away yet! We’ve al­ways loved danc­ing. There are still dances in Skip­ness and we still go.’

The new Mr and Mrs Shaw hon­ey­mooned in Eng­land. ‘Jean had a sis­ter in Der­byshire who couldn’t make it to the wed­ding, so we promised to go and visit her,’ Dun­can said. ‘We toured about to other places too, like Liver­pool, where we had friends.’

The cou­ple went on to have a son and daugh­ter, born at Craigard ma­ter­nity hos­pi­tal, and now have four grand­chil­dren and a great-grand­son.

Dun­can and Jean still live in the home where they raised their chil­dren. ‘We love liv­ing here, that’s why we’ve never moved,’ said Jean. ‘We love our vil­lage and our church is very im­por­tant to us.’

‘It’s a great place to live,’ added Dun­can.

The cou­ple, who said it is hard to be­lieve it has been 60 years, re­ceived nearly 100 cards from friends and fam­ily, and even one from the Queen, to con­grat­u­late them on reach­ing their di­a­mond an­niver­sary.

‘We’ve got very lovely friends here who are very help­ful,’ Jean added.

Dun­can and Jean held two par­ties at their home for their friends and fam­ily, one dur­ing the day and one in the evening.

‘There must have been about 80 peo­ple here al­to­gether,’ said Jean. ‘We had fin­ger food and drinks, it was a re­ally nice cel­e­bra­tion.’

Asked if they would share their se­cret to a long and happy mar­riage, Jean said: ‘You need to work at it and be tol­er­ant – it’s about give and take.’


The new Mr and Mrs Shaw on their wed­ding day in 1957, out­side Saint Bren­dan’s Church in Skip­ness.


Dun­can and Jean Shaw, with the card they re­ceived from the Queen.

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