Congratulations came from the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Prime Minister Turnbull, Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey, Premier Palaszczuk, MPs Clive Palmer and Peter Wellington, along with live entertainment from guests including Noosa Councillors Frank Wilkie and Joe Jurisevic, were just some of the huge surprises in store for Eileen and David Walder when they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.
Eighty friends and family including grandsons Dylan, Josh and Taylor Crisp, joined them for this milestone celebration with many of guests providing entertainment and revealing to MC Stephen Moore, their connection to the Walders.
For most it came as a shock to hear daughter Kerrin tell how the pair met by chance, their early life as a couple and all they have achieved over their 50 years together. Eileen, from England and David from Australia, met in 1965 while hitch-hiking in Italy and married just four months later.
Following the birth of daughter Kim, they made Australia their permanent home in 1967, moving from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast in 1979, where they quickly became heavily involved in the community especially through Noosa Arts Theatre and Cooroy Golf Club.
Eileen became involved in numerous charities, both Olympic and Commonwealth Games committees as well as being a presenter with SEQ TV and journalist with the Sunshine Coast Daily and Noosa News, before returning to teaching.
Since official retirement, she has been a committee member and tutor at Noosa U3A as well as writing several travel articles for magazines. A Life Member at Noosa Arts Theatre and S.E Qld "Theatre Personality of the Year" in 2000, acting and directing have remained her major passion winning numerous awards.
Recently she has found herself in demand again for TV commercials and training videos with even has a small role in the new Rebecca Gibney miniseries to air early next year.
David worked for many years as an engineer in light industry and boat building before turning his hand to farming. Many locals recall the Walders' endless stream of horses, pigs, goats, donkeys and cattle, many rescued from dire situations and becoming pets but requiring the couple still to work full time elsewhere to support the Eerwah Vale menagerie and educate their two daughters.
David also became a courier for QML for several years his, humour and good nature made him very popular with receptionists and nurses at surgeries from Gympie and Brisbane. He still enjoys the occasional hugs and chats with 'his girls' when meeting them out shopping or socializing.
David's golfing prowess earned him the name of 'Black Caviar" among friends at Cooroy Golf Club where he again featured among this year's grade winners, but recent years have seen Eileen drag him along on continuous travel adventures because as she says, "I can't resist outdoing travel agents by getting my own better deals".
The couple travelled to Gallipoli this year where Eileen 'encouraged' knitters to make over 3000 poppies by the time the ship docked. Passengers placed these on the graves at all cemeteries with some continuing on to the Western front.
In 2008 the couple established their own charity "Boots for Bali" which has helped equip several village soccer teams and sponsor a little kindergarten in Samuh village so impoverished children can get a start in education.
The Walders' have taken groups with them to enjoy experiences of a lifetime and reveal the true beauty of Bali away from the tourist hype and bad press of the usual hotspots.
Oh and just to keep busy, Eileen catered for the event herself!