"It's very hard to give it up, it's been my home for most of my life."

Rita Thompson moved into her home on Fenton St as a young bride 64 years ago, and says she hopes the next people to buy it have as many years, and happy memories, in it as she and her late husband Murray did.

Rebecca Bruce, the real estate agent who is marketing the property for Rita, says as soon as she walked into the house.

 For many years this photo of Rita on her wedding day hung in the lounge of the Fenton St home
For many years this photo of Rita on her wedding day hung in the lounge of the Fenton St home

"I could feel all the love in it," she said.

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Seeing the house, Rebecca says she could understand why Rita and Murray had stayed in it so long, "but it certainly isn't common nowadays to have a house of that age having only had one owner through the years".

Rita says there was a lot of love and thousands of happy memories in the house with many family celebrations held there.

"We spent a lot of time in the garden, the children played in it a lot when they were young and I used to enjoy looking after the garden.

"We had a vegetable garden as well as plants and flowers."

When Rita moved into the house all those years ago, it was only a few years old.

"When Murray's family sold the farm, he and his mother bought the land and had the house built.

"They both lived in it, and then I joined them after our wedding.
"So the house has only ever had the one set of owners."

Freshly built, the house was "very modern" for the time, says Rita. "I loved it straight away. It was beautifully built."

While she and Murray slowly changed the house in little ways through the years, "we added carpet as originally it didn't have any", they also kept most of the original design, featuring lots of wood inside.

"When Murray was having the house built he got lots of timber from Auckland, from a company belonging to someone his family knew. It was brought down to Stratford and used in the house."

Rita says while many of their friends and neighbours moved house a few times over the years,

"We never saw the need to. The house was perfect for us, in a good place near the high school for the children so we never looked at other houses."

She never understood the appeal of moving home, she says, "if you get it right the first time you don't need to either".

While Rita originally planned to stay in the house "until they had to carry me out of it", age and health have led to her deciding to put it on the market after she moved into a local rest home.

"I just hope the new owners get as many years and as much happiness out of it as Murray and I did."

Rita has just one piece of advice for the future owners of the Fenton St home, "stay put, you won't need to move again!"