Tamworth RFBI retirement village holds Valentine's Day event

Resident Betty Bass played a bride and volunteer Lawrence Asseff the father of the bridge, with the help of RFBI Tamworth Masonic Village general manager Liz Diebold. Photo: Peter Hardin 140218PHA155
Resident Betty Bass played a bride and volunteer Lawrence Asseff the father of the bridge, with the help of RFBI Tamworth Masonic Village general manager Liz Diebold. Photo: Peter Hardin 140218PHA155

THERE was a 99-year old page boy, mock weddings and even a couple married for 72 years, during a celebration of everything “love” this morning.

The RFBI Tamworth Masonic Retirement Village held a Valentine’s Day event like no other, acknowledging love between couples, families and friends.

Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution chief executive Frank Price said Love is in the Air activities took place today in its villages across NSW and the ACT, part of the group’s focus on positive ageing.

“The unifying message of love is something that resonates with everybody, and highlighting definitions of love can promote conversations between residents, staff, families and the neighbourhood,” he said.

“It’s about seeing people for who they are, not what age they are [and] celebrating what love means to everybody.  

“We have many couples in our villages who will be able to celebrate their love for each other; for other residents it will be the celebration of their family and friendships, or it may be their love of religion, music or our village pets.”

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Long unions celebrated

The Tamworth event celebrated residents Jim and Betty LeCerf, who were married 72 years ago; resident Dick and Elaine Jones, who’ve marked 63 years; and resident Tom and Carol Logan, who’ve reached 45 years.

Jim and Betty LeCerf walked down the aisle together again at the village's event this morning.

Jim and Betty LeCerf walked down the aisle together again at the village's event this morning.

Mr and Mrs LeCerf were wed in the Anglican church in Albury, just after the end of World War II.

For the first quarter-century of their married life, they farmed crops and livestock on their 1333-acre soldiers settlement block.

They said they’d been married so long they couldn’t remember their actual wedding date.

“There’s been too many of them to celebrate,” Mrs LeCerf said.

“We never had time to scratch ourselves for the first 20 years,” her husband added.

But the marriage could just as easily not have happened: Mr LeCerf had been in the army.

“I was on the wharfs in Sydney – after re-fusing 56,000 shells – and I was ready to go to the islands, when the war ended,” Mr LeCerf said.

“I was packed and ready to go overseas, headed for I’m-not-sure-where.

“I was one of the lucky ones, that’s all you can put it down to.”

As for what they loved about each other, Mr LeCerf simply said, “We seem to get along pretty well, considering.”

“I was pretty bloody wild, but we used to always come back together again,” he said.

“More fun making up than anything else.”

The two met at school in Tumbarumba, on the edge of the Snowy Mountains, and when asked what she remembered about a schoolboy Jim, Mrs LeCerf said “I shouldn’t tell tales”.

“Too much to dob him in for … they were naughty boys in Tumbarumba, the boys.”

The village event featured music, singing, a photoshoot, readings, a lunch and even wedding cake.

The residents had previously been asked to write on postcards what love meant to them, and staff read them out on the day.

They included: “Love is what you make it”, “Love is grandkids”, “Love is trust” and “Love is everywhere”.

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