Diamond couple Doris and Alec Hogg shared the secret of a long and happy marriage with the ‘MAIL’ this week.
The Lurgan pair who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on November 15 met when Alec introduced himself to Doris by way of a song.
The 81-year-old recalled the occasion of their first meeting in Joyland in Newcastle when she was aged 20.
She said: “Me and my friend were at the jukebox. Alec came over with his friend and they put on a song.”
Alec (79) continued: “I think it was thruppence for a single and a shilling for three songs. I put on Doris Day ‘Little Things Mean A Lot’. I didn’t know her name was Doris.”
Doris, who is from Portadown, was in Newcastle for the weekend with her friend. Alec, from Dumfriesshire in Scotland was based at Ballykilner and had the day off. Then 19, he was a solider with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.
Of their relationship Doris, who was an apprentice cutter in the Mayfair factory, said: “It sort of grew on us. He started to come down to Portadown every week to our house.”
Alec commented: “We got word that I was being posted out to Malaya for three years.
“It was a case of getting married before I went out, or waiting for three years and hoping everything would be the same. We decided to get married.”
After 18 months Doris came out to Singapore to join Alec.
She said: “I really liked it there. The weather was good and all the army ones were all together. The wives were very close and we did lots of things together.
Alec was promoted to sergeant before they left Malaya and was then posted in Scotland, Berlin, Aden, and Saudi Arabia.
Alec said: “I was in the army for 33 and a half years.
“I left when my wife took a stroke and we moved to Brownlow Terrace in Lurgan.
“I joined the UDR on April 1, 1970 - the day they were formed.
“When the Troubles started we had to move. We lived in Mourneview in Slievecoole Park.”
Alec and Doris have four children - Sharon, David, Shauna and Alexander - as well as 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
“At Christmas time it’s like a sausage machine when they all come home,” said Alec.
He continued: “Because we met when we were young and we had a family when we were young, once they grew up and moved out it was like a vacuum.
“I remember looking at Doris and saying, ‘Is this it?’”
Doris added: “Then the grandchildren came along and gave us a new joy of life.”
Alec commented: “It’s hard to keep track of them all. Children being children they’ll only tell you what they think you want to hear.”
Alec and Doris got married on November 15, 1954 in Seagoe Parish Church. It had been hoped they could celebrate their anniversary with best man Harold McCann and bridesmaid Joy Williamson, though sadly they both passed away earlier this year.
Doris said: “It was very sad to lose them both. Joy had an anniversary card in the house for me. She’d been telling me how much she was looking forward to the anniversary.”
Their house at Kyle Avenue is coming down with congratulations cards including one from the Queen.
The diamond couple were treated to a surprise party in the Seagoe to mark the milestone anniversary: “We’d been told there was a small family meal organised in the Seagoe,” said Doris.
“When we got there the whole family was there including Nicky who’d spoken to us from England the same morning.”
When asked what the secret of a long and happy marriage was Doris said: “There isn’t a secret. You just carry on with it.”
Alec said: “For me it’s two words - ‘Yes, dear’.”