60th anniversary celebration of a right royal occasion

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

The greeting cards from the palace and Governor-General on the table hint that this year’s wedding anniversary for Bevan and Audrey Hunter of Stirling could be a special one.

Sixty years ago, on the Monday morning of the 1960 Queen’s Birthday weekend, it was cold and frosty, Mrs Hunter remembered.

“May had been very wet in Clutha, so we hoped the day would be fine and it was,” she said.

The couple were married on Queen’s Birthday Monday, June 6, 1960, at the Balclutha Presbyterian Church in front of family and friends.

“Our wedding car was an Austin A50 car,” Mr Hunter recalled.

Mrs Hunter, nee Neale, had been training as a nurse for three years and had sat her finals two days earlier, while Mr Hunter had recently bought his own farm at Pukeawa, northwest of Balclutha.

“It was obvious Bevan had his eye on me.

“He was working as a shearer with my brother Brian Neale at several of the local farms when he asked him if we could all go to the pictures together in Balclutha,” Mrs Hunter said, recalling how they met.

A lasting couple. . . Sixty years ago this weekend, Audrey (nee Neale) and Bevan Hunter were married on June 6, 1960, at the Balclutha Presbyterian Church in front of family and friends. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE

Mr Hunter countered saying he had found her attractive and “everything about her was good and she was very down to earth.”

Following the wedding the couple stayed sheep and beef-farming in the Awamangu area until 1993, before moving to a 100-acre (40ha) unit at Moneymore.

After six years the couple retired to Balclutha before moving to their current property, a six-acre farm at Stirling.

“Bevan still farms it like it’s 600 acres,” Mrs Hunter said, “he’s very interested in everything about farming.”

“When we first started out you had to make do with what you had, without all the advanced technical help and expert advice you can get today,” Mr Hunter said.

The couple have coincidentally celebrated their wedding anniversary nine times on the same Queen’s Birthday Monday over the past 60 years.

They are well known for their volunteering in the region. Mrs Hunter belonged to Women’s Institute for many years while her husband helped out on various rural support committees.

“You do what you can to help others and your neighbours,” Mr Hunter said.

“It has kept us busy over the years.”

Answering the obvious question, Mr Hunter said the key to a successful marriage was simply that couples should always come to an agreement instead of arguing.

“Learn to understand each other.”

The couple hosted an afternoon tea last weekend for their neighbours in Ridgwell Pl and King George St in Stirling.

This Sunday their five children,12 grandchildren and nine great›grandchildren will join them for a diamond wedding anniversary party.