Blue sapphire a milestone

Lindsay and Heather Crabbe are going strong after 65 years of marriage. Photo: Jono Edwards
Lindsay and Heather Crabbe are going strong after 65 years of marriage. Photo: Jono Edwards

As their marriage clocks up 65 years, a Cromwell couple feel they are ''lucky to have each other''.

Heather Crabbe (85) said she and her husband Lindsay (88) would ''quietly'' celebrate their blue sapphire milestone yesterday.

They will have a larger celebration with family in December.

The two met properly in Cromwell in 1949.

Mrs Crabbe's father, Len Jelley, convinced her to debut at a debutante ball in the town.

Mr Jelley had a drapery business, and then ran a grocery store, and was the mayor of Cromwell from 1958 to 1960.

''I knew his [Mr Crabbe's] younger brother, because I went to high school with him. I asked if he wanted to go, but he said he didn't have a suit, but his brother did,'' she said.

Mr Crabbe, who lived on a farm in Bannockburn, agreed to attend the ball.

While the pair cannot recall anything of note from that night, they soon became a couple.

They married at the town's old presbyterian church two years later, in a traditional affair with friends and family.

Dancing was one of the main forms of entertainment in the town at the time.

Mr Crabbe said earlier dances during his childhood were during World War 2 when petrol was scarce.

''Sometimes the taxi or bus would only go one way and you'd have to walk home.''

They lived on a small sheep farm in Lowburn for much of their married life.

Mr Crabbe worked on the farm and Mrs Crabbe did too, once their four sons were grown.

The couple's children are spread across New Zealand and Australia. They also have nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Mr Crabbe said doing a lot of work and keeping busy helped in maintaining a long marriage.

Mrs Crabbe said the secret was ''agreeing with each others decisions''.

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