Childhood sweethearts who lost touch as teenagers have finally tied the knot in their 70s, after the pandemic kept them 12,000 miles apart for over two years.
Jock Anderson and Elizabeth Robertson – who first met at primary school in the 1950s – were married in Edinburgh after Jock was able to travel from New Zealand when Covid restrictions were lifted.
The couple broke up in the late 1960s but rekindled their romance in the summer of 2019 when Jock, 75, looked up Elizabeth, 74, on Facebook while holidaying in Scotland.
After realizing the flames of passion were still burning brightly, Elizabeth flew to New Zealand so they could spend Christmas together and, when he popped the question, she was delighted to say yes.
But, just weeks after she returned to Scotland to begin making wedding arrangements, coronavirus hit, keeping the couple stranded on opposite sides of the world.
Last week they were finally hitched aboard the floating hotel Fingal – sister ship to Royal Yacht Britannia – in Leith in a ceremony overseen by TV personality Carole Smillie, who is now a humanist celebrant.
Elizabeth was finally able to say “I do” to her first love, in front of a small group of 24 close friends. The pair are now on a much-anticipated honeymoon in Dumfries and Galloway.
“It was a wonderful day and a perfect end to what has been a frustrating and heart-wrenching period for us,” said Elizabeth, a retired teacher and social work manager from Edinburgh.
Jock, a semi-retired journalist who lives in Timaru, South Canterbury, said: “We just kept telling each other that, having waited almost 60 years, another few months wouldn’t make any difference. But it was still hard.”
The couple were both born in Scotland and left with their parents – Jock from Aberdeen and Elizabeth from Shetland – to settle on the other side of the world in the early 1950s.
After first meeting at primary school in Dunedin, they became sweethearts in their teens.
They went their separate ways after leaving school, when Jock moved to Wellington while Elizabeth returned home, first to Shetland then Edinburgh.
Both had long-term partners but never married or had children and, by the time Jock visited Scotland for the first time since leaving the country, they were on their own.
After looking up Elizabeth on social media, she arranged to meet him off his plane at Edinburgh Airport and take him to his hotel. He said: “The moment I saw her, I knew she was the same elegant, beautiful girl who had captured my heart all those years ago.
“I think Elizabeth and I realized the spark had never died and I sense it has always been there.”
She added: “It felt like we were teenagers again, there was a nervous tension in the air. It was lovely to see him again.”
After she made two visits to New Zealand, Jock invited her back for Christmas and New Year 2020, when he proposed. Within weeks of Elizabeth returning to Scotland to start preparations for their big day in July, both countries were in lockdown.
It seemed that a cruel twist of fate had intervened but the pair remained positive, chatting daily on video link.
“Then it all happened…We were married and finally are Mr and Mrs Anderson,” said a delighted Jock.
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