Diamond anniversary memories

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Margaret and Barrie Hardy got married on the day Queen Elizabeth arrived in Christchurch.
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Margaret and Barrie Hardy have run a successful business, raised four children and travelled in their 60 years of marriage.

We just work well together, Barrie says.

Now aged 79 and 81 respectively and living in Tinwald, they celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary this month with a quiet catchup over dinner at Alluvial with friends.

It was a chance to remember their early beginnings.

Margaret, nee Poole, and Barrie were not high school sweethearts; they met as teenagers through a dance at the popular Radiant Hall, in Ashburton. It was the place to be in the early 1960s.

Margaret, 17 at the time, admits to being pretty impressed when she first saw Barrie, then aged 19, during the evening.

But she did not get to met him until after the dance on the way to the town’s popular pie cart.

They never made it to the pie cart, she says.

He turned up with a friend in a car ‘‘and the rest is history.’’

They courted for two and a half years before getting married in an afternoon service at the old St Stephen’s Church on Tancred Street in Ashburton on 16 February, 1963.

It was a reasonably big wedding which ended with a dance at the Winchmore Hall.

Newly weds Barrie and Margaret Hardy, with flower girl Christine McGee (at left) and friends Janice Wilson (nee McGee), Trevor Hyde, and Margaret’s sister Lyslie Low (nee Poole).

The bridal party included Margaret and her bridesmaids, friend Janice Wilson (nee McGee), younger sister Lyslie Low (nee Poole), and flower girl Christine McGee (Janice’s sister) then-aged around four.

Margaret and Janice worked together at Tekau knitwear company.

Barrie’s best man was the late-Trevor Hyde who he went to school with and worked alongside at Gluyas Motors.

The wedding over, they were whisked straight to the wedding breakfast as Reverend Norris had another event to attend for Queen Elizabeth, who had arrived in Christchurch.

‘‘He came along and did our (wedding), but he had to go up and see the Queen,’’ Margaret says.

‘‘It was a bit of a rush we couldn’t go and take photos. We had to get married and get round to the breakfast.’’

Barrie’s parents put on a wedding dance at the Winchmore Hall that night -they lived just along from the church.

Wedding photographs were eventually taken by popular photographer Gordon Binstead. The couple have a framed photograph of their 1963 wedding party which Mr Binstead later helped them get coloured.

Early married life saw them live in a flat on Peter Street before they bought a house on Grove Street.

Margaret and Barrie were wed and then whisked to the wedding breakfast so Reverend Norris could attend an event for Queen Elizabeth in Christchurch.

They then moved to Windwhistle to take up a business opportunity, operating, then owning the Windwhistle Garage. Barrie was also a salmon fishing guide on the Rakaia Gorge.

They stayed there for 35 years raising their four children; Jan now-59, Peter 57 and twins Michelle and Michael, 52. They now have nine grandchildren living in New Zealand and Australia. It’s meant many trips across the ditch.

Barrie was a qualified mechanic and did his apprenticeship and early years at Gluyas.

They also tendered for some buses sold by Mid Canterbury Coach Services, and went on to have various school run contracts along the Foothills and further afield right up until around four years ago.

Margaret ran the office, kept the finances in check and drove a school bus, and Barrie maintained them.