Ladies’ diamond years

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Jean Kucharski and Crissie Crowe know the true meaning of good neighbours after living next door to each other for 60 years.

Through happy times and sad times the dear friends have faced the world quite literally, side by side, on a quiet Arbroath street.

“We are the two last remaining original residents of these houses,” Jean explained. “The houses were built in 1955. Made of stone they were built to last, but it is hard to get anything in the walls!”

When Jean and her husband came to move into the street Crissie, her husband Frank and son Gordon, were already settled next door.

The layout of the area has not changed much but the ladies have seen many families come and go. They embrace new people coming in and particularly like the children livening the neighbourhood up.

“It is still very quiet and friendly,” Crissie said. “If anyone new comes into the street we put a card into them, ‘welcome to the street’, make them feel they are welcome.

“We love the bairns coming, don’t we Crissie?” said Jean. “We let them know we are here if they need anything. Keeping the community spirit going.”

Jean and Crissie’s families have also grown up together and the friends relish in the success and happiness of each others loved ones.

“We’ve never had a cross word between us, ever. We have loved living next door to one another. We know everything about each other.”

Many happy memories speckled the women’s recollection of the 60 years that pass, including many fancy dress parties and celebrations.

The kinship has also survived, without argument, through tougher times. Such as the death of Frank Crowe, Crissie’s son.

“It really was the worst thing, so sad,” Jean said. “Leah, Frank’s daughter, was only months old.”

With nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren between them, living from Bulgaria to the US, there is much to keep both ladies busy.

Jean is also heavily involved in local Guiding and Crissie enjoys keeping her bright garden filled with cheery flowers, plants and ornaments.

Unsurprisingly when pressed for plans for the future Jean and Crissie agreed they were unlikely to move.