CELEBRATING a diamond anniversary are Marton couple Frances and Des Timmins.

They were married in Bulls 60 years ago on April 14, 1956.

They marked the occasion by celebrating with a family dinner at a "lovely restaurant, and it couldn't have been better".

The couple met when they were working for Wright Stephenson and Co in Palmerston North.


Thinking back, Frances smiled and said it was a lovely way to meet.

"But the years have gone so fast it's hard to believe."

Celebratory cards line all the surfaces in the living room.

Frances said it was amazing to think so many people thought of them.

"Look, there's one here from the Queen and one from the Prime Minister, John Key. Isn't that lovely?"

They had lived in their sunlit house in a semi-rural area for 53years and would never move away, she said.

Frances and Des are keenly interested in genealogy.

But Des is very much into sport, and these days it is bowls rather than rugby. "Old man's marbles," he calls it.

Frances has alway loved craft work and had been a great knitter and sewer.

These days she is enjoying making greeting cards and has a box full of beautiful, original cards.

Also testament to a well lived life is their cat Buttons - a stray when she adopted them 23 years ago.

"I've never heard of another cat this old," Frances said.

Frances wonders if it is because she would never let Buttons out at night.

"She stays indoors every night in her little bed, and I think that kept her very safe and out of danger."

And as Des told the District Monitor: "Some would ask what's the secret of living so long with the woman you fell in love with over 60 years ago?

"I would answer: never leave the house without kissing her goodbye, except for the very odd occasion when she is boiling mad at you, and then don't slam the door when you depart but close it quietly and gently and she might blow you a kiss."