Chocolate is one way to win a girl's heart and that's exactly how Dudley (Digger) Hammond won the affections of his wife Nancy after meeting her at a country dance more than 70 years ago.

He coincidentally bought her a lucky raffle ticket, winning her a box of chocolates, but little did he know he'd win a life with her too.

"I was from Bay View, he was from the Kaiwaka area - he bought me a ticket in a raffle and I won it and things went from there," Nancy Hammond chuckles.

Nancy and Dudley (Digger) Hammond are celebrating their 70th anniversary. Photo / Supplied
Nancy and Dudley (Digger) Hammond are celebrating their 70th anniversary. Photo / Supplied

The couple, now in their early 90s, married a year later in 1949 at the Eskdale Church and had two sons.


"Digger didn't go to the war, he was too young. His father went to the World War I and it was very hard for the family - the war was never really talked about when the men came back."

When it comes to a happy and successful marriage, Nancy said a healthy social life was the key.

"We've always included a lot of people in our home life and it's always been pretty full on. Marriage always has its ups and downs but we've always got through it, he's pretty quiet and I am too."

Independence was also a factor, as the couple always focused on hobbies which mattered to them personally.

"Digger was always following the rugby and going out to games and I was involved in different things as well, we always followed our interests."

But there was one thing that matters more than anything to the devoted couple - and that's family.

"I think when our children came along, it was the grandest thing that ever happened."

Along with their two sons there are five grand children and seven great-grand children.

"It's just wonderful having them around, they came over just last week."

To celebrate their Platinum anniversary, the couple had an afternoon tea with the two bridesmaids - one being Digger's sister and the other Nancy's sister. Close friends and family also attended the special day.

"We didn't know it was a Platinum anniversary, Digger had to look it up on the computer otherwise we wouldn't have known."

Gone are the days of country dances and social gatherings with many people relying on social media or via dating apps to find love. But the couple's devotion and loyalty show that it still very much exists and that it can be found anywhere.

"We've had a very ordinary life, but it's been a good one."