Lanarkshire couple celebrate 70 years of marriage

Family and farming have been the successful factors for Allanton couple Alexander and Sophie Gibson who this week are celebrating 70 years of marriage.

The Platinum Anniversary is quite a rare event, and Sandy and Fie – as they are known to friends and by the Allanton community – have been overwhelmed by the many beautiful cards, flowers and other messages they have received.

Pride of place among the congratulations was the signed card sent by the Queen.

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There were also gifts from Provost Jean Jones, on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council, and a certificate from Lord Lieutenant Lady Susan Haughey.

Sandy was born in Wishaw until the family moved to Allanton when he was four.

Sandy’s father kept some hens at their home in Wishaw as a hobby. As the hobby grew with more hens, he bought Viewbank Farm in Allanton which is still the family home for Sandy and Fie.

Fie, born Sophie Hay, was brought up in Dalkeith where her father was a farmer.

The family moved to the Shotts area when their dad bought a larger farm.

When Sandy left school, he worked with his Uncle Jimmy who was a butcher; his destiny of him was to be a farmer!

Along with her brother and brother-in-law, Fie attended the Farmers’ dances which were held regularly in the area.

This is where she met Sandy. They began their courtship and were soon married, making their home and their living at Viewbank Farm.

It was as a pig farmer that Sandy gained his respected reputation, always with Fie at his side.

Fie enjoyed evenings spent at meetings of the WRI in Allanton and has been one of the longest serving members. She was also an avid member of the local walking group.

There was an excellent Farmers’ Choir in Allanton and Sandy enjoyed being a member for a number of years.

The couple are also members of Shotts Ironworks Bowling Club.

Sandy is well known for his barbecue nights, usually held to celebrate a family birthday and members of the Farmers Choir who were present would happily provide impromptu entertainment with excellent singing.

The couple had five children – Marion who became a GP and is now retired; Sandy Junior who was a Professor; Jim who was employed on the farm besides his father; Shona who is now a nurse; and the youngest Susan.

Sandy Junior died two years ago and Jim also preceded his parents a number of years ago.

Sandy and Fie are also proud of their seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Family life has been very important to them and continues to be so.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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