True love lasts a lifetime

LONG UNION: Diana and Barrie Clarke are celebrating 60 years of marriage.
LONG UNION: Diana and Barrie Clarke are celebrating 60 years of marriage. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

PEOPLE have spent their entire lives searching for what Diana and Barrie Clarke have - a "true love" that has spanned six decades and counting.

Mr Clarke was an 18-year-old farmer when he first met Mrs Clarke, then 15, who was a friend's younger sister.

But it wasn't until a year later, when Mrs Clarke invited him to her college ball, that the romance really began.

"And that was the end of it," Mrs Clarke said. "From then on we've been in love."

"I actually fell in love at 16, and I really fell in love.

"I remember saying to myself no one falls in love at 16 and you get told that you don't know you're in love, and I used to say 'yes I am'."

The Tuckombil couple will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this Thursday.

Mr and Mrs Clarke were married at Lagoon Grass, just outside of Lismore, shortly after Mrs Clarke's 19th birthday.

Growing up an only child, Mr Clarke was determined to have a big family.

Sixty years on, and the couple now has nine children, 28 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Both agreed loyalty, honesty and openness were key ingredients to a long and successful relationship.

"I think loyalty's very important," Mr Clarke said. "She's a loyal person, and she's a wonderful mother, and she knows what the other person needs.

"If you hold things back in yourself they grow, don't they? They grow and all of a sudden it's gone from a bit of disappointment to something that grows and grows."

"I think being true to each other and having nothing to hold back is important," Mrs Clarke agreed.

"Being able to feel so free to talk to each other about whatever it is, and then listen."

The couple will celebrate with family and friends at Tintenbar hall on Sunday.

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