THEIR marriage may have got off to the strangest of starts but this week Ballingry couple Sheila and Robert McShane celebrate their golden wedding.

Said Robert: "I was playing for the Army football team a few days before our wedding, which was set down for April 5 1969, and went down in a tackle.

"I knew it was a bad one for it was very painful but it was only a bit later that I realised that I had broken my leg.

"But the show had to go on and although it was a bit awkward being in plaster, our wedding day went brilliantly."

The couple, from Navitie Park, are both Lochore born and bred and Robert started work in the Mary Colliery when aged 15.

However, he decided he wanted to join the Army and signed up for the Scots Guards and served in Malaya, the Persian Gulf and Ireland over the nine years he served as a regular, and then had three years in the reserves.

Robert and Sheila met through her friendship with Robert's sister. Said Sheila: "Robert had come home after a spell in Malaya and I just happened to be visiting his sister when we met. That was in 1968 and we married a year later!"

He left the Army in 1973 and worked for a short spell at Rosyth Dockyard but he decided to return to mining and worked at Solsgirth Mine and the Frances Colliery before the Miners' Strike of 1984-85 saw it and a number of Fife pits close.

Robert started work with Street's Builders and then went to Todd and Duncan's in Kinross, before finishing up working with ASDA.

Sheila worked with Lochgelly Co-op when she left school and then became a bus conductress.

Later she spent a number of years working in the care home sector but also worked with Baynes the Bakers.

Robert was a good footballer and played until he was in his forties. After his time playing in the Army he played amateur for Lochgelly United and the Red Goth. These days he enjoys a game of golf at the Meedies course.

Sheila enjoys volunteering and was one of the founding members of the Benarty and Lochgelly Credit Union and volunteers two days a week for the organisation. She also likes knitting and battling with puzzles, jigsaws and crosswords.

The couple had three sons, eldest Robert died a few years ago, and also have Kevin and Bryan, along with six grandchildren and one great grandchild with another on the way.

Sheila and Robert will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a family meal at the Garvock House Hotel, in Dunfermline.