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Neil and Dale share secrets to 64 years of marriage

Neil and Dale, Redleaf Manor residents, on their wedding day 64 years ago

Redleaf Manor aged care residents Neil and Dale Clark are out to prove that teenage romance can be built to last as they look ahead to their 64th wedding anniversary in February.

On the 27th February, the Concord-based couple will celebrate 64 years of wedded bliss, and say they have come a long way from the milk runs and school uniformed days when they met.

Neil, who was the family’s milkman, first spotted Dale in 1958 when she was still in school. At 22 years old, he says he knew he wanted to marry her from the moment he saw her.

"I had this half gallon container of milk, and I was showing her how clever I was with it,” Neil remembers.

“I pulled the milk upwards, dropped it and spilled it all over her school uniform."

"I knew exactly who I wanted to marry, even then."

"We're still pretty keen on each other now actually," Dale added.  

"I think 'pretty keen' is a very light way of putting it - I'm still in love with her to this day," Neil said.

Dale was 17 years old when they got married a couple of years later in 1960 at St Peters Anglican Church in Campbelltown.

Since then they have worked, travelled extensively throughout the UK, Europe and Africa and created a family they are very proud of.

Neil worked on his own milk run business, ran a driving school where he taught 3000 people to drive and helped his father on his farm.  Dale worked for Estée Lauder for many years, modelled for a time and worked for the government in the lottery office while raising children Amanda, John and Matthew.

"We got to have a really good look at the world, we both worked hard for our money, and we put it to good use," Dale said.

"When our children got old enough to be out on their own, we travelled to lots of places in the world and had a fantastic time really.”

When Neil had a stroke, the couple sold their house and made the move into Redleaf Manor where they could receive extra care when needed.

"The staff here are so lovely, and we get to be together still, so our old age is a very happy one as well.  We're very lucky." Dale remarked.

On the secret to a long and happy marriage, Dale and Neil had two key pieces of advice to share.

"We've had a very happy marriage. Of course, we've had ups and downs here and there like anyone, but on the whole we've been very lucky. My advice would be to be honest with each other," Dale said.

"And some advice that was handed down to me was to never go to bed at night with an angry word. Always kiss and make up," Neil added.

Now the couple sit back and look at the family and legacy their long marriage has created proudly.

"It's a lovely warm feeling that you get, that's the only way I can describe it," Dale said.

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