A WONDERFUL LIFE
When Bay View couple Ron and Joan Rider celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on September 16 it is likely to be a noisier affair than it was in 1939.
Originally from Hertfordshire, just north of London, England, Ron, then aged 23, and Joan, four days off her 21st birthday, married in what they called a “silent” ceremony in a little church called the St James in Goffs Oak.
World War 2 had broken out just 13 days before. The church organist, having what was deemed an important day job, had been evacuated so the newlyweds’ walk down the aisle went unaccompanied.
They had met two years earlier at an evening organised by a customer of Joan’s, who was then a hairdresser. They had some close shaves during the war years, says Joan, but nonetheless were together as Ron was not sent to fight because of health reasons.
The Riders immigrated to New Zealand 19 years later with their two daughters, Jo and Jan.
Not long after Ron started his working life as a butcher in Wellington, he told his boss he was going to visit Hawke’s Bay. The man shook his hand , said “cheerio” and told him he knew he wouldn’t be back once he had seen the Bay.
And the Riders soon found out what he was talking about.
For many years they ran a small orchard and strawberry garden in Hastings, and the Whakatu butcher shop.
Fourteen years ago they shifted to Bay View, and are now the proud great-grandparents of eight children, and grandparents to seven.
Most of their family still live in Hawke’s Bay.
The couple are leaving the organisation of the family gathering this weekend up to their daughters – they say they can’t see what the fuss is all about.
But Joan is confident they can equal her parents’ milestone of 70 years of marriage.
They both say they are still great friends and do everything together.
“Some people look back and say, ‘we should have done that’, or ‘I wonder how things would have turned out if we had done this’ … well, I don’t.” Joan says.
We have been very happy. We have had a really wonderful life.”
Photo caption – HB TODAY PICTURE: DUNCAN BROWN