They met on a blind date — she was 19 and he was 27.
Last week Denise and Jim Breen, of Gore, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
When they met she was partway through her nursing training at Gore’s former Seddon Memorial Hospital, Mrs Breen (nee Messent) said.
Her parents lived in Mataura and she lived in the nurses’ hostel.
One of her nursing friends, Patti Monaghan, and her husband Kevin organised four of their friends to go to a party.
‘‘We were paired up — [Jim] was my date.
‘‘It was just a fun night out.’’
While she knew some of Mr Breen’s family, she had not met him before.
The couple continued to see each other and about three months later were engaged.
However, they did not get married until about a year later.
‘‘I wanted to finish my training first,’’ she said.
Mr Breen said he was attracted to her because her father had race horses and her brother John was a jockey.
‘‘Jimmy’s always had an interest in horses,’’ Mrs Breen said.
They had a happy marriage, they said.
‘‘Couldn’t get better,’’ he said.
‘‘We care about each other,’’ she said.
The success of their relationship was team work — ‘‘it’s a partnership’’.
The couple’s house at McNab was flooded twice.
‘‘We had 14 inches of water through the house,’’ she said.
‘‘That provided lots of laughs — dad piggybacked mum out.’’
The couple were proud of their 11 children.
‘‘The kids were our life,’’ Mrs Breen said.
‘‘They’re all successful,’’ he said.
The couple also had 20 grandchildren.
They celebrated their anniversary with a family afternoon tea.