Hospital visit ensures golden couple don’t have to spend their milestone wedding anniversary apart

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that may well be the case for a Pather couple as they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.

Francis and Mary Cain married at Sacred Heart Church in Bellshill on January 8, 1972, after meeting around a year earlier.

The couple feared they would have to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary apart last Saturday as Frankie is an in-patient at Wishaw General where only essential visiting is currently allowed due to COVID restrictions.

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Their daughter Pauline Cook told Lanarkshire Live: “My mum managed to get in for a visit and I’ve never seen her so happy in my life.”

They had first clapped eyes on each other at the wedding of a friend two years earlier, and began courting which led to them getting engaged in 1971.

After marrying Mary from Bellshill and Wishaw-man Frankie, as he’s better knowm, settled down in their first marital home in Birkshaw Tower in Gowkthrapple.

They went on to have five children. Their eldest son Nicholas arrived in 1974, sister Pauline arrived in 1976 and was followed three years later by a second daughter; Beverley.

The couple with their five children; Martin, Ashley, Beverley, Pauline and Nicholas

The burgeoning family then upped sticks and moved to a bigger “front and back door” home in Pather in 1981. A year later daughter Ashley arrived and in 1985 the youngest was born, son Martin.

Mary gave up her job at Smiths Clockworks just before Nicholas arrived but has always been involved with the local community and the chapel, she is a well-known face at St Thomas’ RC Church in Tarbert Avenue.

Frankie would always ensure the family got away to the seaside during the Fair Fortnight, he started off hiring a car for the trips but as the family grew it turned into a minibus.

He worked for years at Ravenscraig before being forced to retire due to ill-health in the early 90s.

Pauline recalled: “My dad was always working shifts but my mum was always there.

The Pather couple are celebrating 50 years of marriage

“Mum has always been involved with the chapel and the priest mentioned their anniversary during mass at the weekend and in the bulletin.”

Pauline and her siblings went on to provide their mum and dad with nine grandchildren; Courtney, Lacey, Grayson, Connor, Corey, Molly, Caleb, Olivia and Callum. And Courtney is also a mum herself to Liam, Frankie and Mary’s great grandson.

Mary was a keen knitter and would create baby clothes, hats and cardigans.

A sociable couple, Frankie and Mary have now been living in the same house in Pather for over 40 years.

After they children grew up they liked going along to the Cambusnethan Club.

Mary still likes to get out for a walk to the shops each day.

Reflecting on their lengthy marriage, she said: “It’s about compromise and we know each other inside out, it’s just about getting on with each other.”

The family are looking forward to Frankie being allowed home from hospital when they can enjoy some cake together as an anniversary celebration.

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