It started with a casual remark from a neighbour: "you should meet the nice girl that lives down the road".

The year was 1950, and teenager Gordon Scholes and his dairy-farming family had moved to the rural community of Shannon in the Horowhenua District.

Word had spread that there was a new family on the block and wives were quick to make them feel welcome with family dinner invites.

One of the families had a daughter named Catherine, the "nice girl" neighbours had raved about, who "lived down the road".

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Gordon and Catherine hit it off at that dinner, and