Church members share joy at 70 years of married bliss

MayandBillNeill1
May and Bill Neill

A couple have reached a remarkable milestone after a lifetime of laughs and not one serious argument.

Bill and May Neill are celebrating 70 years of wedded bliss and say the secret to their relationship is love, good humour and compromise.

The couple, who are 91 and 88 respectively, marked their platinum anniversary with a gathering at Glasgow's Castlemilk Parish Church, where they are both members, and a surprise visit to Kirkhill Church in Cambuslang where they got married in 1946.

They received a card from the Queen congratulating them on their milestone.

Mr and Mrs Neill of Castlemilk who have two sons Douglas, 58, and Thomas, 68, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, first met at a dance at Tollcross Cooperative Hall in Glasgow - an activity that they still enjoy doing to this day.

Mrs Neill, who was 16 at the time, fondly remembers being impressed by her future husband's moves on the dance floor and said they immediately hit it off over a "bottle of pop".

She said faith played a big part in their continued happiness because the Christian virtues of kindness, compassion and tolerance were hallmarks of their lives.

"The Church has had a big influence on our marriage and we have had a great life together," she added.

"We are close friends and I suppose the secret is compromise and good humour.

"We have never had any major falling outs in 70 years of marriage and whenever you are going through rough times you have to draw closer together.

"You have your ups and downs, there is no doubt about that, but you have just to get on with it and make the best of it."

May and Bill Neill May and Bill Neill on their wedding day.

With a laugh, Mrs Neill, who was largely a stay at home mother, added: "You don't just say 'I am leaving you' but I couldn't leave him anyway, he has got all the money."

Mr Neill, who worked at steel fabrication plant Redpath Dorman Long in Cambuslang as a construction engineer for 51 years until he retired at 65, said he and his wife had also benefited from a loving and supportive family.

With a wry smile, he said: "We have not had any bother in 70 years, we seem to get on alright and just agree with one another sometimes…."

Looking back to when he first met his wife in 1944, Mr Neill recalled that he was an apprentice plater working on tank landing crafts and a member of the company's Home Guard.

"Two of us sat at the works gate all day long and all through the night with rifles but we didn't have a bullet between us," he laughs.

"It was a joke."

Isobel Beck, a deacon at Castlemilk Parish Church and a good friend to the couple who got married on April 19, 1946, said: "Reaching the milestone of being 70 years married is a fantastic achievement and you can see the love they have for each other.

"The humour between them is amazing and every time I visit I am entertained.

"They are such a lovely couple."