Settlers residents celebrate 50th gold wedding anniversary
THE golden wedding anniversary is one of the most celebrated and Settlers Rockhampton residents, Patrick and Anne Gowman, have invited their entire village to gather together for a breakfast ceremony on 23rd July to renew their wedding vows.
First married on 23rd July 1966, Patrick, 70, and Anne, 69, planned a classic 60s English wedding in a church north of London, the bride in white, bridesmaids in peach and the gentleman in grey with a garden reception at the bride's parent's house.
It was a picture perfect post card day and even the English rain stopped for a full 24 hours for their celebration. It promptly commenced again when they took a caravan down the east coast of England for a rainy honeymoon.
Fifty years on, Patrick and Anne are now living in sunny, warm tropical Queensland in the relaxed atmosphere of Settlers Rockhampton retirement village.
"When we moved to Australia in 1967, we were 40 pounds in debt and spent the first few months in Sydney making new friends and eventually basing ourselves out near the Blue Mountains.
"The move north to Queensland was to be closer to family and to downsize but upgrade our lifestyle.
"Now we're living with wonderful friends and the freedom to enjoy our independence in a safe community where we can own our house without the maintenance.
"Settlers was the right price and right location; I looked at all the retirement villages and thought 'I could buy a house for that cost'; but I didn't want to do any more home maintenance which is the one thing that attracted me to Settlers.
"There is also the added benefit of living in a community that is with like-minded people and planned activates where we could both join in," Patrick explains.
Patrick and Anne knew their move to Australia couldn't go wrong and what they have now is better than what London would have given them.
They did travel back to their home town to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary but not that Anne knew what was about to happen.
"We planned a trip to London to see family and I secretly arranged our original wedding, including all original guests, with new family I found through ancestry research, and Anne had no idea what was happening.
"On the same day, same time and same place we renewed our 35th wedding anniversary vows, and it didn't rain on that day either," Patrick said.
This time around the couple have themed their 50th wedding anniversary with a tropical beach setting, including large beach themed backdrop, and almost 60 residents, friends and family who are travelling from Sydney and around Queensland to attend their celebration.
The couple have one child, five grandchildren and one great grandchild living in Australia and are looking forward to their big occasion that will be something different to celebrate with new friends and their family.