Like many couples of their generation, Patricia (nee Brabant) and Alan Wallace met at a dance and romance blossomed.

Alan lived and worked on the family dairy farm at Bruntwood and Tricia (as she is known) lived in Ruakura and was in the throes of setting up her own dressmaking salon in Claudelands.

They were both 18 years old when they met at the Starlight Ballroom in Hamilton. The Satellites were playing that night and they were both enjoying the rock 'n' roll music, which was in its heyday.

The romance turned into love and the couple were engaged in 1959 and married at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Hamilton East on April 30, 1960.

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Music and dancing has remained a big part of their lives.

The couple lived on the family farm where Alan worked, and later they sharemilked the property.

Tricia had established Patricia's Dressmaking Salon in the city and was soon specialising in bridal gowns, as well as bridesmaids and mother-of-the bride frocks.

In 1962 Alan qualified to represent Waikato in the New Zealand Ploughing Championships in Invercargill.

His interest started when he competed successfully in ploughing matches staged by the local Young Farmers clubs.

This was to be the beginning of a lifelong interest in competition ploughing which continues to this day. It also took the couple around the world, from a young age.

Tricia says they always travelled together and looking back it was wonderful.

Alan won the New Zealand Ploughing Championships — Silver Plough — in 1968 and Ploughed for New Zealand in Yugoslavia at the World Championships.

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Then in 1971 he ploughed at the World Championships in England, finishing runner-up, and in 1976 he placed fifth in Sweden.

Newlyweds Alan and Tricia Wallace on their big day. Tricia made her gown, and the bridesmaids' frocks.
Newlyweds Alan and Tricia Wallace on their big day. Tricia made her gown, and the bridesmaids' frocks.

It had always been his ambition to win the World Ploughing Championships — the Golden Plough — and in 1981 in the Republic of Ireland he was successful.

This was a first for New Zealand and the ploughing fraternity were justly proud of him.

He then turned to judging and coaching and has been to many more world championships in many other countries.

His last trip was to Croatia in 2012.

In 2010 he coached Bruce Redmond from Canterbury to win the Golden Plough at Methven in New Zealand, a great thrill for Alan.

Alan keeps himself fit and is still able to judge at the New Zealand Ploughing Championships.

Walking on soft ploughed ground is not easy at any age.

This year the event was to be held in Takapau in early April — and Alan was to have been one of the judges — but of course it has been postponed until a later date.

Alan was one of the early inductees to the Te Awamutu Walk of Fame in recognition of his national and international success.

Alan and Tricia raised a son and daughter, Grant and Amanda, and bought their own farm at Parawera in 1972.

This time they gave up milking and ran cattle and grew maize.

Tricia carried on her successful bridal dressmaking and design business through the years on the farm, then later started her own craft business which she gave up about eight years ago.

She says she always loved sewing and only ever wanted to make things. She was 17 years old when she made her first wedding gown and made her last for a family member six years ago.

In 2002 Alan and Tricia sold the farm and moved into Te Awamutu where their son Grant, with Alan's help, built a retirement home on the outskirts of town.

On the back of the section they built a big shed where Alan has been able to restore his many vintage tractors.

Twelve years ago they bought a red 1960 MG A 1600 which they have had countless hours of fun in.

Day trips, weekends away and MG rallies to all parts of the North and South Islands have been much enjoyed by them both.

"Murphy", as he is known, is a much loved part of the the household.

With other interests like Lions club, country music, vintage tractors and machinery, MG events, Red Hats and socialising with friends at the RSA club, the couple are kept pretty busy in their 'golden years'.