Sixty-five years of laughter

Kath (88) and Pop (91) Winmill show they are 'still very much in love' after 65 years of marriage. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Kath (88) and Pop (91) Winmill show they are 'still very much in love' after 65 years of marriage. Photo by Linda Robertson.

The bud of teenage romance blossomed into a lifetime of love for Kath and Pop Winmill.

The Waikouaiti couple celebrated 65 years of marriage yesterday, but can still recall their early impressions of each other at Lawrence District High School.

''I fell in love with her in form 2,'' Mr Winmill said.

''You know why? I had auburn hair and nice long legs,'' Mrs Winmill said with a laugh.

''It was the legs that got me and I have been in love ever since,'' he said.

While Mr Winmill was ''born and bred'' in Lawrence, Mrs Winmill (nee French) was raised in Ravensbourne and moved to Lawrence when she was 9.

''I thought he was a bit all right back then,'' she said.

''But so did a lot of other girls.

''But we were meant to be, weren't we, Pop?''Their romance had survived World War 2, a battlefield injury and a scare with tuberculosis.

Mr Winmill served in the infantry in World War 2 from 1941 to 1945, during which the couple kept on writing to each other.

In 1945, while serving in Italy he was shot.

Upon returning home he set to making her his wife, although Mrs Winmill claimed, ''I don't remember you proposing.''

''I can,'' he said, sitting upright.

''I came home from being overseas and your mum and dad were having a bit of a do at your place.

''We were in the Model A sitting in the back seat and your mum and dad in the front seat and I said to your mother I wanted to propose ... and there was dead silence in the car.''

Mrs Winmill had worked as a nurse and was diagnosed with ''shadow in the lungs'' after nursing men with tuberculosis, so her father suggested they waited until she was clear of the disease before they married.

''I didn't wait. I asked her and I married her,'' Mr Winmill said.

They married at Holy Trinity Church in Lawrence, on February 26, 1949.

What followed was the ''most wonderful life'', which had taken them from Lawrence to Roxburgh to Dunedin and, ultimately, Waikouaiti, Mrs Winmill said.

It had produced five ''wonderful kids'', eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

And what was the secret to a long and happy marriage?

Hard work and a sense of humour, the couple said.

''I always maintain if you have got your health, your friends and your sense of humour - you are the luckiest bugger alive,'' Mr Winmill said.

The couple considered themselves ''very lucky'', as they were still well, both had their best friend in each other and, after 65 years of marriage, they were still laughing.

- timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

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