Newspaper Article 2007 – Diamonds are forever for blissful Bay pair

Diamonds are forever for blissful Bay pair


“Diamonds? I don’t need diamonds,” Kathleen Reed laughs, her kind eyes gazing lovingly at her husband Walter.

It may be the Napier couple’s diamond wedding anniversary today – 60 “wonderful” years – but Kathleen would rather something more useful than a diamond ring.

“The kids kept saying Walter should get me a diamond ring but I wanted a camera. So we got one of those digital ones and now we’ve just got to figure out how to use it.”

They were married in England on September 6, 1947, the same year as the Queen and Prince Phillip, and although the royal wedding was the talk of the country, Walter and Kathleen were “too busy being excited” about their own romance to notice the coincidence at the time, Kathleen said.

Fresh from their weekly lunch date at the Cosmopolitan Club, the happy couple sit together in their cosy home surrounded by framed photos of family memories with their three children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren, and reflect on their union that “just fitted together” – right from the beginning.

It was in Yorkshire in the late 30s when they met.

He was the cool 18-year-old who rode a motorbike and had a job at the local mechanics, she was the pretty 15-year-old who lived at the orchard in the neighbouring village.

So was it love at first sight?

“Oh I don’t know about that,” Kathleen laughs.

“But it was a real girl and boy crush.”

Alas, soon after they met their liaison was cut short with the onset of World War Two and Walter was stationed as a sergeant in India for six and a half years.

They kept their love alive through countless letters and when Walter came home in 1946, their rekindled love was certain – a year later they were married in a small ceremony with family and friends.

“He proposed on my 21st birthday. It all just fitted into place – it was meant to be,” Kathleen remembers.

Nine months after their wedding their first child was born, John, and daughters Julia and Kathleen soon followed.

When the family moved to New Zealand in 1965 after “too many crook and freezing” winters that Walter “couldn’t stand”, they found the perfect house in Napier – the one they’re still in now.

“We’ve had lots of offers to sell it over the years, but we never will. Why would we? We watched our children grow up here.”

The house certainly keeps them busy, with Walter renovating the rooms one by one, and “tampering” with the clocks he collects.

Kathleen is a daily “slave to the garden”’, Walter said.

Friends have flown from England to join them in their anniversary celebrations and this weekend, they’ll mark the occasion with family and friends at The Mission.

The secret to their successful union?

“It just works,” Kathleen says.

“We’ve made it work. There was never many arguments – we would always work it out together and help each other out through everything.”

As for getting a card from the Queen herself, as is usually done to mark Diamond anniversaries?

“Oh I don’t know anything about that, shall I give her a call then?” Walter chuckles.

Photo caption – STILL IN LOVE: And still smooching, happy Napier couple Kathleen and Walter Reed celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary – 60 years today

Original digital file


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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

6 September 2007

Creator / Author

  • Maria Priestley


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Kathleen Reed
  • Walter Reed
  • Kathleen, John, Julia Reed

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