A POPULAR Clydebank couple born and bred in the town returned to their wedding reception venue to mark 50 years of marriage.

Harry and Pat McToal met in The Hub on Kilbowie Road in 1967, when Harry was 18 years old and Pat was 16. 

The couple struck up a romance and tied the knot on October 2, 1970 at St Stephen’s Parish Church in Dalmuir, before celebrating with their loved ones at the West Park Hotel. 

Harry, who was hailed a 'local hero' at the age of 11 after he saved a young girl from drowning in the Forth and Clyde Canal in Clydebank, went on to work at the Singer sewing machine factory before moving to Chivas Regal and, later, to Ballantine’s distillery. 

The couple settled into married life in Scotstoun before moving with their young son Paul to Bell Street in Whitecrook in 1977. 

Pat worked as an IT supervisor at John Brown’s, before taking up a role as an IT manager with the TSB bank until her retirement.

The couple’s daughter Gemma, who was born in 1985, told the Post they enjoyed a brilliant upbringing. 

She said: “Mum and dad are great. They’ve always done their absolute best for me and Paul.

“When we were younger, in the 90s, we religiously went to Berwick for caravan holidays and collected coupons for £9.50 family holidays.

“They have always been sociable, have had the same group of friends since they married and still see them all now.”

Harry and Pat now live in East Barns Street, Whitecrook, and enjoy cruising and spending time with their friends at Clydebank Bowling Club, where they have been members since the 1990s, having previously played at the Dalmuir club. 

Gemma joked: “They balance each other out. Dad plays bowls and can be a bit of a grump, whereas mum just goes along for a wee drink and to socialise.

“They would put us all to shame, I’m 35 years old and they are fitter than me – they’ve never slowed down and they’re showing no signs of doing so now.”

Despite lockdown, the couple hope to receive a blessing from Father Aidan Martin, parish priest at St Stephen’s, as they had also received one following their ruby anniversary. 

Instead of a trip abroad, as they had originally planned, Harry and Pat celebrated with Gemma and Paul with a meal at The West Park Hotel, in a fitting nod to their reception 50 years ago.