Sixty-five years and still going strong

18:12, Dec 27 2012
Jim and Pat Gillespie
LASTING LOVE: Jim and Pat Gillespie.

After 65 years of marriage, the love between Jim and Pat Gillespie is still clear to see.

The couple celebrated the milestone with family at their Timaru home yesterday.

They fondly remembered their wedding day on December 27, 1947. The ceremony was at St Peter's Anglican Church, Timaru, officiated by the Reverend John Froud, followed by a reception at a local tearooms.

"It was just a family wedding," Pat said yesterday. "My relations helped, and his helped."

The wedding was paid for with tokens, which were still being used following World War II. Jim bought his suit for 20 tokens while Pat purchased her dress from Ballantynes.

Jim and Pat met at the West End Hall dance, which was held every Saturday night. Jim had his eye on Pat and one day dropped her home.


He wrote her number down on a cigarette box, but a disappointed Pat found it discarded on the street the next morning.

"She thought that's the last I'll see of him," Jim said yesterday.

However, he did make contact with her and the couple have been inseparable since.

Early in their marriage Jim drove a "rabbit truck" in the Mackenzie district. The couple built a house at Fairview and Jim started a sack merchant business at Saltwater Creek.

Marriage took work, Pat said. But she had advice for young couples setting out: "Work together and stick together."

They have two sons, Michael and Tony, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They celebrated with a family afternoon tea yesterday.

The Timaru Herald