Couple celebrating 70 years of wedded bliss and affection

IT MIGHT be a platinum anniversary but Frances and Charles Menzies’ marital milestone is a real gold-plated one when it comes to wedded bliss.

The South Tamworth couple are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary – well, the big day was actually on Sunday but you can forgive them if they extend the nuptial news for a few days.

Few couples will celebrate this many years, a mark of the generational times and the new age trend for people to marry at a later age.

Frances and Charlie married on January 5, 1944 at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Armidale and first lived at Charlie’s property called Kincora at Ebor.

Frances (nee Champion) was not originally a local girl.

She was born in Sydney and moved to Hillgrove with her parents Richard and Dorothy, where they ran the Hillgrove general store.

Frances says she and Charlie met at one of the “socials – we danced a bit. It was about all we could do those days – there was no television and hardly any radio”.

She was only 19 when they married and Charlie was 20; they are now 89 and 90 respectively.

It was not a whirlwind courtship, with the couple engaged for a year before taking the plunge.

Charlie was an accomplished horseman on his 1000-acre property before he and Frances got hitched.

“We’d do local shows and things – he did flag racing and jumping,” Mrs Menzies said.

“He was mad about horses.”

Life on the property helped strengthen their marriage, although Frances was never as keen on horses as Charlie.

“I used to help with them but I wasn’t terribly involved,” she said.

The Menzies had two children, a boy and a girl called Carol and Charlie, both now deceased.

The Menzies did not sell Kincora when they retired and moved to Tamworth; rather, they gave it to Charlie.

Frances could not put her finger on why she and Charlie had reached their platinum anniversary, although the affection between them is obvious.

“I wouldn’t know – it just happens,” Frances, now a great-grandmother, said.

They had a quiet celebration, inviting friends over for lunch on Sunday.

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