Couple's love still strong after 75 years of marriage
A lot has changed in 75 years, but not the love one Manawatu couple have for each other.
Cyril and Beryl Norris, from Feilding, will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary next week at a lunch with some of their closest friends.
The couple were married on June 27, 1942, shortly before Cyril joined the war as a Royal Air Force navigator.
They met at a "sixpenny hop", or dance, in England, two weeks after World War II broke out.
Cyril had been sent to Beryl's village, near London, to help set up ammunition depots.
Beryl, 94, said she found this "handsome, intelligent, city man" amid all the country lads and decided she'd stick with him. And so she has – for 78 years.
What was the secret to their long marriage?
"Keep a sense of humour... don't argue," Cyril, 96, said.
"If you do, don't let them get out of hand, and don't argue about money".
Cyril fought with a chap from New Zealand who told him of the country's green pastures, open land and mountains, and urged him to relocate after the war.
And so the pair moved in 1953, spending their last £700 on a booking passage.
They arrived in Dannevirke with only £40. All they and their two children had was their clothes and some bed linen.
"Things were terrible in England after the war. Everything was rationed well into the 50s, over five years after the war ended.
"This chap said to me 'come out to God's own country' – so we did. We never even thought about going back again."
They now have seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchilden, and the couple are still active in their mid-90s.
Every Tuesday they head to Manchester House for a social morning of talking and games with 15 friends. The group has organised a morning tea for the couple on their anniversary day.
They'll also celebrate with fellow residents at Coombrae Retirement Village.
Cyril said he was lucky to escape the war when his flight crew were shot down over India picking up rations. Fortunately, he had taken a 48-hour pass to visit family and wasn't on board.
It wasn't until he returned that he leaned some of his best mates had been killed.
"We had three years of married life, then we said goodbye at a railway station as I headed out to Wales [for deployment].
"It was hard the first few months back. We were like strangers again," Cyril said.
That was the first and only time the couple have ever been apart, they said.