Published: 12/06/2017 08:00 - Updated: 10/06/2017 07:44

Sweethearts repeat Ross-shire wedding day 70 years on - right down to the menu!

Frank and Ishbel Ham celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 6. They came back to Portmahomack where they were married in the Church of Scotland.
Frank and Ishbel Ham celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 6. They came back to Portmahomack where they were married in the Church of Scotland.

SEVENTY years ago a smart young airman tied the knot with his Ross-shire sweetheart in her village church.

And this week the pair, now both 91, made a nostalgic trip back down the same aisle to mark their platinum wedding anniversary.

Ishbel and Frank Ham’s long-lasting marriage was celebrated on Tuesday when relatives flew in from around the world to join them at Portmahomack Church of Scotland.

It included their original page boys and flower girls – Mrs Ham’s younger brother Malcolm Young from Dingwall and her cousins Catriona Fraser, Gina Oliver and Donald Urquhart.

Catriona, who lives in Evanton, also had a special role on this occasion when she said a few words in honour of the couple at the church.

The celebrations, which included a champagne meal and a ceilidh dance at the Carnegie Hall in the village, were carefully arranged to echo their wedding reception all those years ago, down to the same menu.

The enduring romance started in 1946 when Ishbel, a clerkess at the RAF base in Lossiemouth, met navigator Frank from Bristol while they were both based there.

She had been brought up on a farm in Cromarty before the family moved to Rockfield Farm in Portmahomack.

The second eldest of four siblings, Ishbel was a Land Girl during World War II before she served in the RAF.

After their wedding in June 1947, Frank began working in the computer industry during its pioneering days and spent the majority of his career in management with IBM at various locations in England. They also spent four years living in Paris.

The Hams had two children, John and Lorna, who both live in the south of England and now have four grandchildren. The couple live in Wokingham, Berkshire, not far from their daughter.

All their grandchildren travelled to Ross-shire for the celebrations, including Alexander who flew in from Thailand to surprise them. Ishbel’s nephew Ian Young and his family travelled from America and her niece Ghyslain came from Paris.

Their daughter Lorna House told the Ross-shire Journal not only were her parents back in the same church 70 years to the day they got married, they continued the celebrations in the same hall they had their reception in and also ate exactly the same meal of salmon, followed by lamb.

“The whole family were there, it was such a wonderful day and they were presented by the Lord Lieutenant with a card from the Queen, which was lovely,” she said.

“They both had a wonderful time. My mother’s family are very close-knit and it was fantastic to have everybody there."

Asked what was the secret of her parents’ long marriage, Lorna said: “The love and support of each other and their family.”

She added: “My mum still plays bridge and my dad plays golf, they are just amazing people.”

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