Walk leads to love

WHEN Heather and Kevin Suckling met at a mutual friend's 21st birthday when she was 16 and he was 20, they never envisaged that 64 years later they would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Mrs Suckling smiles when she reflects upon their first meeting and said her future husband wanted to escort her home, but insisted he would have to ask her mother first.

"He did and she said 'yes' - so I guess I've got mum to blame," Mrs Suckling said with a laugh.

The couple married four years later, on April 10, 1954, in Gundagai, just a week after her 20th birthday.

A few years later hard times in the bush led to them moving to Kiama, where Mr Suckling's brother Ernie owned a bakery.

"It was tough times in the bush, which was in the middle of a drought," Mr Suckling said. "After working with Ernie for about a year I got a job with Brambles as a mechanic and stayed there for 32 years before I retired."

In the meantime, the couple built their first home at McGregor Avenue, Warilla, where they still live 52 years later.

"When we first built I think we were the second house built in the street, but it grew quickly and we made some wonderful friends," Mrs Suckling said.

"Our family is also very important to us. We have four children - Christine, Garry, David and Jennifer - as well as 12 grandchildren, and will soon have 15 great-grandchildren. They are all very important to us.

"It's been a busy few weeks as not everyone can make our party at Warilla Bowling Club next week, so some have been calling in when they can, but we really don't mind."

When asked about their secret to a long and happy marriage they agreed that having a shared interest in fishing and bowls, plus a lot of patience were the key.

"We have done everything together and we love having our family around," Mrs Suckling said.

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