Cou­ple mark 50 years

Marlborough Midweek - - Front Page -

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.

Photo: SVEN HERSEL­MAN

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