When a young Frank Kay and Mary Nicol met at a dance at Herbertville, it was the start of a happy life together, culminating in their 60th wedding anniversary today.

"I couldn't dance, but we hit it off anyway," Mr Kay said.

"We had lots of things in common."

Frank was a shepherd and Mary the oldest daughter of a farming family who lived at Braeside.


"I was living on the farm and Frank was shepherding down the road," Mrs Kay said.

"We'd knew each other for two years before we married."

The couple's wedding at Dannevirke's Knox Presbyterian Church was conducted by Reverend Brian Wilson from Eketahuna who was standing in for the Reverend Haigh, who was away.

"Our wedding cake, a beautiful three-tiered fruit cake, was made by my grandmother," Mrs Kay said.

She wore a beautiful gown of coronation rose brocade, with a tulip neckline of satin and a scalloped satin waist, with a full train skirt.

"I've still got my wedding gown."

Two cousins were her bridesmaids, Mary Smith of Martinborough and Heather Campbell from Upper Hutt. The groomsmen were Mr Kay's brother Alan, from Taihape, and Niven Nicol, the bride's brother.

After a reception at the Manchester Unity Hall, the couple left for their honeymoon, before setting up home at Glen Ora, where Mr Kay was a shepherd.

He remained a shepherd until he retired, moving into Dannevirke 25 years ago.

"We had a few moves while Frank was a shepherd," Mrs Kay said.

"After we married I joined the Women's Institute and was a member of Ti Tree Point and Waione and when we came to town I joined the Raumati WI, which has now closed."

They both belong to the Dannevirke Probus Club and Mrs Kay is also a keen cribbage player.

"All my life I've worked with dogs and still have a couple. They are very special," Mr Kay said.

He was a dog triallist for 40 years and still helps out with the timekeeping.

"Being a member of the Rawhiti Lodge is a big thing for me too."

Mr Kay said they had always had good neighbours in the country and in town.

And there was some sage advice from the couple.

"Have true values and don't expect to start off where your parents finished," he said.

"Work for things and respect other people. Unfortunately, today young people have a harder road to hoe than we did."

Family and working together and helping each other was the key to 60 years of wonderful marriage, Mr Kay said.

"It's about give and take and accepting each other."

Mrs Kay said their successful life was because they didn't have arguments.

The couple have one son, Bruce, who will join them for a celebration at the weekend.