Couple mark 50 years
By SVEN HERSELMAN A classic boy meets girl scenario nearly 55 years ago is still being celebrated by Spring Creek residents Pat and Peter Dodson, who marked their 50th wedding anniversary last month.
The couple first met by chance at Wairau Hospital, with both making an impression on the other right away. However, as Pat lived in Picton and Peter was farming near the Goulter River, they thought they would never see each other again.
Chance would smile on them again though when Pat was out with friends trying to buy movie tickets. ‘‘The line was so long and none of my friends knew anyone further forward in the line who could buy for us, so I was sent up to see if I could see anyone I recognised,’’ Pat says.
As luck would have it she found Peter and boldly decided to approach him. ‘‘ We joke that I picked him up in the street,’’ she says.
They didn’t get any tickets but the romance soon grew and they were engaged three years later. ‘‘She then ran off to Australia for a year,’’ Peter jokes.
Pat had gone to visit family in the country and ended up staying a year. Despite this separation the couple were later reunited and Pat got to marry her ‘‘mountain man’’.
They stayed in Marlborough and Pat continued her teaching career, while Peter moved his farming operations
Golden couple: Spring Creek residents Pat and Peter Dodson celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. closer to Blenheim. ‘‘I got him to move because there were no teaching opportunities for me up there and we were quite isolated,’’ Pat says.
She did mostly relief teaching and has taught at just about every primary school in Marlborough as well as Bohally Intermediate. ‘‘I even had some past pupils and teachers who I taught with come to our 50th wedding anniversary party,’’ she says.
Peter has strong roots in Marlborough, as his great great grand-father settled in Spring Creek in 1854. Peter and Pat have built their retirement home on land right next to where his forefather started out.
Pat was born in Invercargill but moved to Picton with her family as a young girl and was raised in the seaside town. In those days the trip to Blenheim and indeed up the Wairau Valley was via a simple dirt track and was very time consuming, remembers Pat.
The couple celebrated their anniversary on May 16, with a big house party the next day. ‘‘It was a wonderful party. We did quite a big one for our 40th [wedding anniversary] because we didn’t know if we would be around for the 50th, so we went even bigger for this one,’’ Pat says.
The celebration was livened up even more by talented pianist Steve Austin. Pat, who taught music during her teaching career, sang a few duets with him.
‘‘We are very fortunate, we have had a wonderful life here in Marlborough together,’’ Peter says.