Len and Lorna Chandler celebrate 60th wedding anniversary

By James Bennett

After 60 years of marriage, Lorna and Len Chandler say the biggest highlight has been family.

The great-grandparents celebrate their diamond anniversary today.

Lorna, 77, and Len, 82, believe a strong connection to their children, siblings and parents is the driving force behind their special milestone.

‘‘We have four children and 12 grandchildren who I’ve helped raise and it was a joy looking after them when their parents worked,’’ Lorna said.

‘‘Len enjoyed the grandchildren, because he was working he didn’t see some of those special moments when our kids were growing up.

‘‘It feels fantastic to reach 60 years together; we never thought we’d ever make it,’’ she said with a laugh.

With six decades’ knowledge behind them, the Chandlers passed on a word of advice to other local couples.

‘‘Never go to bed after an argument and always kiss your partner before they leave the house.

‘‘We’ve always been together no matter where we went.’’

The couple tied the knot on Monday June 15, 1959 at the Mooroopna Church of England in front of about 100 people.

Lorna said they ran into some good luck on their wedding day, which seems to have continued to this day.

‘‘It was the Queen’s Birthday weekend and the weather prior to the Monday was terrible; it rained and snowed. But Monday was such a beautiful day.

‘‘A lot of our relatives came up on the Saturday and we had a party beforehand.

‘‘Len needed to drive to Melbourne Airport to pick up his brother who was flying in from Queensland.

‘‘After the wedding we all travelled to MG O’Brien Hall for the reception and when it was over Len and I travelled around in our car with streamers flapping from the windows and stones in the hubcaps.

‘‘We were chased around Shepparton and Mooroopna with cars beeping their horns because that’s what used to happen.

‘‘The best thing about the day was how everyone enjoyed themselves. My uncle used to tell me it was the best wedding he’d ever been to.’’

Straight after the wedding they travelled across to Adelaide for a week and made their way back to the Goulburn Valley via the Great Ocean Road.

‘‘One strange thing I remember was travelling through Warrnambool and seeing a man swimming in the ocean during the middle of winter,’’ Lorna recalled.

During their early years of marriage Len worked as a mechanic for Taig Brothers before moving onto Massey Ferguson.

In the early 1970s, Len managed a local toy shop with his brother on High St until it closed. Len was about 40 years-old at the time it closed and was told he was too old to work. However, he soon started doing framing work and created wedding bouquets until he retired.

Lorna has spent her life looking after the most important thing to her — family.

‘‘Bringing up four children and looking after other family members, I didn’t have time for a job,’’ Lorna said.

Twenty-five years ago she started knitting for the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre and GV Health.

Her efforts were recognised recently at the 2019 Greater Shepparton Volunteer Recognition Awards as one of two long-serving volunteers of the year.

‘‘I knit things like hats, mittens and donate them to the maternity ward.

‘‘This year I’ve started to make parcels and selling them in the hospital. Every dollar is then donated back to cancer research.

‘‘There can be anything in the parcels such as writing paper and pens, combs, shampoo and deodorants; I try and fill them with whatever they want,’’ Lorna said.

For their remarkable achievement the Chandlers have received letters from local politicians Suzanna Sheed and Damian Drum, Prime Minster Scott Morrison and even Her Majesty The Queen.

Although the anniversary is today, the couple is celebrating with friends and family tomorrow for lunch.

Special tableware cards have been printed with photos from their wedding day.