A former Scottish Junior Cup winner with Linlithgow Rose footballer said his wife of 50 years was the “belle of the ball” the first time he laid eyes on her.
Tom and Lilly Henderson from Polmont celebrated their golden wedding yesterday (Thursday) – also Tom’s 70th birthday – and said maintaining each other’s independence has helped them reach the milestone year.
The couple married on Tom’s 20th birthday when Lilly was 18 in Slamannan Parish Church where Lilly (nee Johnstone) grew up.
They met at a dance night in Slamannan when live bands used to play in the village.
Tom, originally from Shieldhill, said: “I thought she was the belle of the ball when I first saw her, she was beautiful. Still is I must add.”
Winger Tom was with Falkirk FC at the time. He played in the first team during the 1962-63 and 1963-64 seasons.
He left the club shortly after they married and played for Linlithgow Rose and was part of the side which won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1965.
Leaving competitive football behind Tom went to work for Borg Chemicals in Grangemouth before heading to the oil rigs offshore. He was on the Piper Alpha platform the day before the tragedy on July 6, 1988 killing 167 colleagues, many of whom Tom had known.
Lilly was an auxilliary nurse based in Linlithgow for nine years before working at Torwood Hall care home in Larbert. They have a daughter and a son – Sharon (49) and Alan (44).
Tom said: “I think the secret to our long and happy marriage is that we’ve had our own independence. While we love doing things with each other, we still make a lot of time to do things on our own with the great friends we each have.”