Sapphire anniversary marked

GOOD FRIDAY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY: Gisborne residents Judy and Sean Powers celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary yesterday. The gemstone associated with 65 years of marriage is blue sapphire — a symbol of loyalty. Picture by Paul Rickard

Judy and Sean Powers have great memories of their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries and yesterday added another milestone to their lives together — their 65th.

They were only 19 years old when they met in the south of England in 1951.

It wasn’t long after World War 2 had ended. Sean was serving in the Royal Navy and Judy was training to be a teacher in Weymouth.

“I was in training college and I didn’t realise it was attached to a port, so there were always plenty of sailors around,” Judy says.

When she and the girls went to the Friday and Saturday night dances they always had plenty of partners to choose from.

Sean was working on an aircraft carrier with a crew of 3500.

“We met walking down the road late one evening in Weymouth,” he recalls.

“There were three of us going back to the ship and these three girls came along, so we fell in behind them and slowly caught them up.

“I was the last getting there so I ended up with this one,” he jokes.

They arranged to meet again under the Weymouth clock.

“I got there and was wondering whether I would recognise him, and he was thinking the same,” Judy says.

It was not an issue and so their courtship began.

“There was nothing much to do in Weymouth,” says Judy. “I wasn’t earning any money and he wasn’t well paid.”

Pubs were not a place for girls in those days so they would go for coffee instead, but mostly they would go walking.

“We’d go for walks on the beach and sit up on a big grass bank above the harbour where you could look down on the ships, which would be lit up.”

“The senior ship would blow its bugle and light up, then the others would all light up. It was quite something.

“Things were still rationed when I met Sean.”

“If I got shore leave,” Sean says, “I’d get a ration card and on that you could get cheese and butter.”

He spontaneously proposed to his sweetheart on the beach at Weymouth.

Sean later met Judy’s parents, who lived north of London in Middlesex, and took her out to buy the engagement ring.

“Judy was busy choosing the ring and I sneaked out of the shop.”

“He just left me there,” says Judy.

Fortunately she had a good sense of humour, something that has served her well through 65 years married to a man of Irish descent.

They were married on Easter Monday in 1954.

Judy wore a veil made of Isle of Wight lace previously worn by her mother and made by her grandmother.

After serving for eight years in the Royal Navy, Sean took a job labouring on a construction site in Plymouth.

His hands became knotted from the monotonous physical work, so he decided to apply for a position in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The couple moved to Auckland in 1957 with their first-born Julia and had six more children — Deborah, Philip, Gregory, Sarah, Ronald and Josephine.

Deborah died at 58 after losing her husband to cancer, so Judy and Sean moved into the daughter’s Gisborne home and took care of her five children.

They beam with pride when talking of their large family.

“Our family is very close,” says Sean. “They have all made good lives for themselves,”

The couple was thrilled to receive a card from the Queen to go alongside one from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Gisborne MP Anne Tolley and Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin.

At 82, they have had to slow down but the spark is still there and their sense of humour is well intact.

The secret of a happy marriage they say is “never go to bed on an argument and don’t carry grudges”.

They decided against having a big party this year and instead were being visited by family and loved ones over the school holidays.

Judy and Sean Powers have great memories of their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries and yesterday added another milestone to their lives together — their 65th.

They were only 19 years old when they met in the south of England in 1951.

It wasn’t long after World War 2 had ended. Sean was serving in the Royal Navy and Judy was training to be a teacher in Weymouth.

“I was in training college and I didn’t realise it was attached to a port, so there were always plenty of sailors around,” Judy says.

When she and the girls went to the Friday and Saturday night dances they always had plenty of partners to choose from.

Sean was working on an aircraft carrier with a crew of 3500.

“We met walking down the road late one evening in Weymouth,” he recalls.

“There were three of us going back to the ship and these three girls came along, so we fell in behind them and slowly caught them up.

“I was the last getting there so I ended up with this one,” he jokes.

They arranged to meet again under the Weymouth clock.

“I got there and was wondering whether I would recognise him, and he was thinking the same,” Judy says.

It was not an issue and so their courtship began.

“There was nothing much to do in Weymouth,” says Judy. “I wasn’t earning any money and he wasn’t well paid.”

Pubs were not a place for girls in those days so they would go for coffee instead, but mostly they would go walking.

“We’d go for walks on the beach and sit up on a big grass bank above the harbour where you could look down on the ships, which would be lit up.”

“The senior ship would blow its bugle and light up, then the others would all light up. It was quite something.

“Things were still rationed when I met Sean.”

“If I got shore leave,” Sean says, “I’d get a ration card and on that you could get cheese and butter.”

He spontaneously proposed to his sweetheart on the beach at Weymouth.

Sean later met Judy’s parents, who lived north of London in Middlesex, and took her out to buy the engagement ring.

“Judy was busy choosing the ring and I sneaked out of the shop.”

“He just left me there,” says Judy.

Fortunately she had a good sense of humour, something that has served her well through 65 years married to a man of Irish descent.

They were married on Easter Monday in 1954.

Judy wore a veil made of Isle of Wight lace previously worn by her mother and made by her grandmother.

After serving for eight years in the Royal Navy, Sean took a job labouring on a construction site in Plymouth.

His hands became knotted from the monotonous physical work, so he decided to apply for a position in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The couple moved to Auckland in 1957 with their first-born Julia and had six more children — Deborah, Philip, Gregory, Sarah, Ronald and Josephine.

Deborah died at 58 after losing her husband to cancer, so Judy and Sean moved into the daughter’s Gisborne home and took care of her five children.

They beam with pride when talking of their large family.

“Our family is very close,” says Sean. “They have all made good lives for themselves,”

The couple was thrilled to receive a card from the Queen to go alongside one from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Gisborne MP Anne Tolley and Minister of Internal Affairs Tracey Martin.

At 82, they have had to slow down but the spark is still there and their sense of humour is well intact.

The secret of a happy marriage they say is “never go to bed on an argument and don’t carry grudges”.

They decided against having a big party this year and instead were being visited by family and loved ones over the school holidays.

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