Golden smiles for Ferry couple

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THERE will be golden smiles in the Young household in Queensferry today (Friday) when Mary and Alex celebrate 50 years of marriage.

The couple, who live at Queen Margaret Drive, are well known to many having run the Ferry’s sole fishmonger business in Gote Lane for almost 30 years until they decided to retire back in 1999.

Born and bred in Queensferry, Alex (69) met Mary while he worked as a barman in the Forth Bridges Hotel, which was situated at what is now the Ferry Tap on the High Street. Mary, who lived in Edinburgh, was visiting Queensferry with a friend when the romance blossomed.

They married soon after at St Mary’s Church in Haddington on March 25, 1961.

Alex combined his bar work with that of an apprentice fishmonger with Hillwood Co-op. When the co-op was later taken over by St Cuthbert’s, the store dropped the fish retail side of the business with Alex Arbuckle taking over the Gote Lane fishmonger’s in 1970. A year later Alex took over the business with wife Mary working behind the counter while Alex went out with his van selling fresh fish to Ferry folk and beyond.

One of Alex early recollections in the fish trade was that of actor Kenneth More walking into his fish shop while he was filming “The 39 Steps” to ask if he could “spend a penny.” He never bought any fish however.

While the fishmongers business kept them busy, the couple enjoyed a busy social life too with sailing and travelling taking up most of their time.

They own a boat Amara, which is based at Queensferry Harbour, and take to the Forth waters whenever they get the opportunity. Alex was a former commodore of Queensferry Boat Club.

But it’s travelling in their motorhome that they enjoy most, with holidays to Europe each year, including Spain, Denmark and Sweden.

Despite having spent a lifetime amongst fish, the couple still cannot see beyond them.

Mary said: “I used to make Alex a fried haddock roll every morning and to this day we still eat fish at least four times a week. Our favourite is haddock.”

The couple have three daughters, Ann, Alexis and Rosemary and have seven grandchildren and earlier this week they celebrated the 50 years with a party at Orocco Pier.