If you were looking for an example of true love, you would go no further than Bill and Mary Kemp.
The couple have been by each other’s side since they were 18 and on Tuesday December 11 they will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.
The couple’s family and friends have organised a party to celebrate the occasion this Saturday while on Tuesday, for their official anniversary date, the couple will enjoy a special lunch together and Mary said she might crack open a bottle of wine.
“We don’t drink much anymore but I might have an extra glass of wine,” Mary said.
“I might have a beer or two,” Bill added.
Bill and Mary both have a perfect recollection of when they first laid eyes on one another. It was at a birthday celebration for one of Mary’s colleagues at the Kempsey Hospital.
Mary, who grew up near Wauchope, became a nurse at the Kempsey Hospital when she was 16 while Bill was born and bred in Kempsey.
The two, who were 18 at the time, began talking and it wasn’t long until they couldn’t be separated.
“He must have taken a bit of a liking to me, he has stuck with me for the past 70 years,” Mary said with a cheeky grin.
The couple married in 1948 with only close family in attendance and they immediately started their family.
Susan was the first of five children before Kenneth, Rodney, Phillip and Gary quickly followed.
Bill and Mary now have 14 grand children, 25 great grand children and one great great grandson.
The couple started out their marriage travelling across Australia working on farms.
The two returned to the Macleay with their family after 10 years and have lived in the region for close to 60 years.
Bill built a steel construction business from scratch while Mary did the office work.
The two worked, lived and spent the majority of their spare time together and Mary believes their longing to be close to one another has helped grow their love.
“We always liked to do things together, we would go dancing two or three times a week, play tennis, search for fossils together and travel,” Mary said.
“You meet some lovely people when travelling but we enjoyed spending time together the most.”
While 70 years is a remarkably long time to share your life with someone, Mary and Bill claim their love hasn’t wavered.
“We still love each other very much and have a lot of affection for one another,” Bill said.
“We still tell each other ‘I love you’ every night before we go to sleep.”
Mary best describes the seventy years of love her and Bill have shared in one of her latest poems:
‘We’ve been married now for 70 years,
we’ve had lots of good times, and very few tears,
And a family that we’re very proud of,
We had little money, but plenty of love,
We battled at times, things were hard,
We shared our problems and worked hard,
Things were never his or mine,
They’ve always been ours, and that’s worked fine,
The last thing we say to each other at night,
Is I love you and have a good night,
Don’t go to sleep angry with each other,
Remember their your friend as well as your lover,
You can sort things out and put them right,
If you say I love you before good night.
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