Community thanked for 50 years
Cliche terms such as ‘‘ compromise’’ definitely come into play when you’re talking a long and happy marriage.
But Heather and Brian Williamson agree that celebrating 50 years is as much a credit to their caring community as it is to their loving relationship.
It has been about others since the sporty couple said ‘‘I do’’ in a small Putaruru church in 1964.
There is clearly a special connection between the school teacher and former mill worker, but it is not the love story you would watch on television.
‘‘I can’t even remember how he proposed,’’ Heather said.
To which Brian responded: ‘‘It was probably in a car going home somewhere.’’
They raised three children of their own but the Williamson legacy travels far further than that.
And it is not because Heather reached New Zealand status as an umpire or even that Brian was a world champion shearer.
The couple’s community spirit trumps any individual achievement – and there have certainly been a few.
‘‘Our home was a home for everybody. I call everyone kids, even if they’re 50, because we’ve had them in our home,’’ Heather said.
So it is no wonder that past students organised a formal celebration at the South Waikato Sports and Events Centre, drawing an impressive crowd to say the least.
But rather than glorifying the anniversary as something they have accomplished as a couple, both said it was more like a thank you to all those who have helped pull them through.
‘‘All families have their hard times,’’ Heather said.
Surviving multiple strikes at the Kinleith Mill and more tragically, losing their son four years ago, were two of their toughest.
‘‘What happened [when their son died] was the whole of the South Waikato brought things to our house and it was all taken to Tauranga where our son’s family lived,’’ Heather said.
It was a tragedy that could have torn them apart, she said, but instead, with people bringing food or mowing the lawns without being asked, the family could focus all their energy on each other.
It is inspiring proof that what goes around comes around.
The couple have always lived by community work.
Heather has gone the extra mile and beyond for national netball and received an National Education Service Award, while Brian is always tinkering away on projects for others.
‘‘If everybody did one thing for the community it would be a better life for us all,’’ Brian said.
Keys to success: Heather and Brian Williamson have weathered their fair share of storms in a remarkable 50-year marriage.