Milestone 70th wedding anniversary

Lorraine and Warren Bartlett, who recently clocked up 70 years of marriage, simply can't imagine life without each other.

They were both 21 years old when they said "I do", and three children, eight grandchildren and nine-great grandchildren later, are still as happy as ever.

The couple, who live at Uniting AgeWell Strathdon Independent Living Village in Forest Hill, are both on a home care package through Uniting AgeWell and still thoroughly enjoy spending time together reading, doing puzzles, chatting and admiring the lovely trees and birdlife around them.

As part of their packages the couple gets meals brought in, a bit of cleaning done, help with podiatry and a few other services. "It means we can live independently at home," Lorraine says. "That's how we like it."

They love their large, comfortable two-bedroomed flat and are particularly fond of the beautiful trees, which during autumn put on a golden-red show.

"Sometimes more than a dozen birds sit in the tree outside our balcony, it's lovely to watch," Warren says.

Warren was 12 when he first fell in love with Lorraine. "She used to sit in the pew opposite me at the Preston Methodist Church, and I'd stare at her and think how beautiful she was," he says. The love-struck lad would cycle all the way from Preston where he lived to Thomas Town where she lived, and he'd drive his bicycle up and down the street past her house, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. And despite the somewhat cool reception he received from Lorraine in the early days, his persistence paid off.

The couple have led busy lives. The Reverend Dr Bartlett lectured in psychology at university and also served as a Minister in the Uniting Church. The couple moved to various parishes across Victoria, their last being in Croydon. Throughout it all, Lorraine held down a number of office jobs, as well as juggling the demands of a busy family life.

The family has close ties with the Uniting Church. Their oldest son, Paul, is also a Minister in the Uniting Church and is based in NSW and their older daughter, Diane, worked as a nurse in outback Australia for Frontier Services, which is part of the Uniting Church family.

And their secret to a long and happy marriage?

"It's a bit of give and take," Lorraine says, while Warren maintains, "We may disagree on some things, but we always pull together in the same direction."

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