'Always there for you': Christchurch pair celebrate 75 years of friendship

Betty Smith (left) and Marjorie Ainsworth celebrate 75 years of friendship, just in time for the...
Betty Smith (left) and Marjorie Ainsworth celebrate 75 years of friendship, just in time for the International Day of Friendship this week. ​Photo: Supplied
Much has changed since Christchurch women Betty Small and Marjorie Ainsworth first met on a softball field in 1946.

There has been weddings, births, and countless other milestones along the way.

However, what has not changed is the close bond between Betty, 90, and Marjorie, 91.

This year the Christchurch residents are celebrating 75 years of being best friends since they met as teenagers.

Their milestone coincides with the 10th International Day of Friendship on Friday – a United Nations initiative promoting friendship between people, countries, cultures, and individuals.

It is a way of inspiring peace efforts and building bridges between communities.

Betty visits Marjorie at her residential care home whenever she can.

Regardless of how long it has been since they’ve seen each other, Betty said the conversation flows as though it never stopped.

They love reminiscing about their early days – and there have certainly been some memorable moments.

There were softball games with celebrations or commiserations held at the pub afterward, they talk about their jobs at Well Cut, and all the fun they used to have in town on a Friday night.

Over time they have both become parents, with Betty now a proud great-grandmother. Now they are both widows.

Throughout everything, Betty and Marjorie have always been there for each other. It was the key to their long-lasting friendship. Betty said it is important to make time for each other, otherwise life will inevitably get in the way.

"It wasn’t easy once we were married and had children and we didn’t have phones at home the way they do now.

"We didn’t drive at the time either, but occasionally I would get the train into town from Lyttelton with the pram and the nappies and travel in the guard’s van to see Marge.

"It would have been nice to see each other more regularly, but when we did, it was like we’d never been apart.”

For Marjorie, what it means to be a good friend comes down to one thing.

"Someone who is always there for you,” she said.

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