Nov 18 2011 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
AS A 16-year-old picture house usher, Basilia Donis could never have known that the handsome young man walking her home was her future husband.
Especially since WW2 snatched brave RAF man John Wotherspoon away soon after the night they met.
But in 1945, John returned to Catrine and the young sweethearts met again.
Love blossomed and the couple married in Cumnock Old Church on November 8, 1946.
Now, a fantastic 65 years later, the sprightly couple are celebrating their blue sapphire wedding anniversary.
John, now 91, was the eldest of seven siblings and was born in Catrine in St Germain Street, in what was the Crown Hotel.
His parents, Anne and Mathew, had come from Carluke and purchased the hotel.
At 17, after serving a joinery apprenticeship, John signed up to the RAF and was posted to Gosport Barracks where he trained as a wireless operator.
During WW2 he was posted to France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
John was one of the first people in the world to learn that the war had ended.
He often recalls the news coming through his wireless and the rejoicing of the troops.
John returned to his parent’s house in Catrine and to his career as a joiner.
Basilia was born at 4 Brick Row in Lugar in 1927 to Spanish parents Basilia and Geronimo Donis. She was the youngest of 11 siblings.
She left school at 14 before taking a job as an usherette at Cumnock picture house.
It was a life changing decision. For she met John and the couple married.
They moved in with John’s parents before they were eventually allocated a new house in Sloan Street in Catrine, where they remain today.
John spent much of their married life working as a joiner but had to retire 20 years ago when he underwent a triple heart bypass.
Basilia spent 15 years working as an auxilliary nurse at Ballochmyle Hospital, a job she loved.
The couple are adored by all 42 of their nieces and nephews.
Basilia joked: “I married him because I thought he had money, but it turned out he had none.
“The secret is to give him a pasting every now and again. No, in all seriousness we get on fine. We still have our arguments to this day. But he’s been a good husband to me.
“And I’ve been a good wife too. I feed him on the best – but he’ll tell you I hunger him.
“We both have a great sense of humour, we torment each other.”
But John has a different take on the secret to a long happy marriage.
He joked: “I just do as I’m told.”
John and Basilia celebrated their blue sapphire anniversary with a friends and family at their home.