Couples celebrate 60 years of married life
TONY Leenaars is forever grateful for being sent an angel over 60 years ago to light up his life.
That is how he regards his wife Leoné as the couple prepare to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday.
North Ipswich's Cyril and June Suthers also will celebrate their 60th on the same day. Both couples worship at St Paul's Anglican Church in Ipswich and the fellowship is a major part of their lives.
Mr Leenaars was interned in a Japanese prison camp in Java for three years as a 16-year-old with other members of his family, before moving to Capetown, South Africa. He met his wife-to-be at a swimming club in Capetown after being introduced by her sister.
"We started dating and going out... and it took us five years before we got married," he says.
His wife has been a beacon in his life.
"If you could describe an angel on Earth, it is her. She deserves a halo," he says.
"I went through difficult times, and at times I was very difficult myself. She deserves all the credit."
The couple, who have two sons, moved to Australia in 1998, and now live in Churchill.
The Suthers, who have four children, met in Childers in 1950 while Cyril was waiting for a bus in to take them to a dance. Cyril, a cyclist, was in town for a race meeting that was washed out.
"I was introduced to June outside the newsagency, and we went to the Saturday night dance... and we danced, and we danced, and we danced," he grins.
Cyril left Ipswich for his beloved June and four years later they were married in Childers. Cyril says "life is not lovey, dovey all the time" and the secret to staying together is "give and take". Tony admits Cyril was "just ahead" of him to the marriage vows because of the nine hour time difference in South Africa. Both couples remain close.
"We found out just before our 50th that Tony and Leoné were married on the same day, so we had a barbecue at our place to celebrate," Cyril says.