Still in love after 60 years

By Simon Ruppert

It's not every day you get sent a card by the Queen and Prime Minister.

However, that is exactly what Don and Jenny Varcoe found in the letterbox last Thursday.

And there was good reason, with the two celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

Don said the pair had been planning on a quiet celebration, but had been dobbed in by their children.

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“We got lots of calls form friends and family, but we just wanted to spend the day together enjoying each others’ company,” Don said.

“We've got no family in Benalla, so we thought we'd be doing some online video calls to catch up with everyone.

“We were really surprised and so pleased to get so many cards and messages.

“We got a letter from the Queen. It said – ‘Her majesty the queen personally approved this card, which was specially designed for the transmission of her majesties congratulations to you Mr and Mrs Varcoe. I am pleased to hear you are celebrating your diamond wedding anniversary. My sincere congratulations and best wishes on this very special day'.

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“We also got a card from the Governor General of Australia, and Victoria.

“We also had one from Helen Haines and one from Steph Ryan.

“Steph wrote us a really nice letter.

“And we think it was her that arranged all of these cards, after someone dobbed us in to let her know our anniversary was coming up.”

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Don and Jenny have lived in Benalla for most of their lives.

“We've had our ups and downs,” Don said.

“We've been through it all.

“We have four beautiful children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Jenny and Don Varcoe on their wedding day

“And we are in love even more than we were in the beginning”

Jenny said the two fell in love again every morning.

“And at the end of this day we give thanks for every moment of time we spend together,” she said.

“It is only by the grace of God we are where we are today.”

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Don and Jenny met at dance in Lima south.

“I was born and bred here in Benalla,” Don said.

“I went away to do teacher training them came back for a job in Benalla and I never left.

“Jenny originally came from Holland, and was living with her family in Mansfield when we met.

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“It was at Lima south at the opening of a new hall.

“Jenny came across from Mansfield and I came up from Benalla.

“I remember seeing this beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl across the room and I was gone.

“We had only been together three weeks and Jenny had come to Benalla for a visit.

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“I proposed and she said yes.”

Don and Jenny said being happily married for 60 years was not difficult so long as you communicated and did not stay mad after an argument.

“My advice to any newlyweds is to be open and honest in everything you say and do,” Don said.

“Love each other with a passion and tell each other that you love each other often.”

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Jenny agreed.

“it's about give and take,” she said.

“Don't go to bed after an argument.

“If you've had a barny, make sure it's over before you go to bed.”

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