WHEN love lasts a lifetime, even a pandemic can't stand in the way.
Wodonga retirees George and Joan Whitefield, aged 93 and 91, marked their 70th wedding anniversary on Wednesday with a social distancing celebration due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Neighbours filed past their Wodonga Gardens Retirement Estate unit mid-morning to offer heartfelt congratulations and to share cake.
Mr Whitefield said he was lucky to meet the love of his life when he was admitted to hospital as a young man.
As a coal miner working in Gippsland, he had his appendix out at Wonthaggi Hospital, where his future wife was a nurse.
"It must have been love at first sight," he quipped.
"I have never regretted it once."
Married on May 6, 1950, at Woolamai Methodist Church, Mrs Whitefield recalled a "wonderful day", which was shared with about 70 guests.
They flew to Queensland for their honeymoon.
Having settled in the North East in late 1963, Mr and Mrs Whitefield have a strong faith in their church, family and their marriage.
"It's about give and take and supporting each other; also our trust in God," Mrs Whitefield said.
IN OTHER CORONAVIRUS NEWS:
Mr and Mrs Whitefield's eldest of six children, Kathleen Maddock, said her parents remained healthy and active in the community.
She said they moved from their Beechworth Road home to the retirement village only about three years ago.
"They're still living on their own," she said.
"They cannot believe they cannot go out to do the shopping; they love the plaza!
"They're really disappointed they can't go to church at the moment; every Sunday they'd get a taxi to church and someone would drop them home."
The couple have 17 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren, soon to be 28.
The tight-knit family have kept in touch through letters and phone calls.
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