LIFELONG LOVE: Bargara residents Jan and John Fender are celebrating 60 years of marriage.
LIFELONG LOVE: Bargara residents Jan and John Fender are celebrating 60 years of marriage.

Married 60 years and stronger than ever

LOVE has no bounds and when the going gets tough, it's the relationships built on the strongest foundations that triumph through turmoil.

For husband and wife of 60 years Jeanette and John Fender, life has thrown a few curve balls their way, but nothing could cause a rift in this marriage which has defined the test of time.

"With four kids back then, times were hard but you had to stay together and tough it out," Jan said.

"We both came through for each other when we needed to and that is what made us stronger."

 

LIFELONG LOVE: Bargara residents Jan and John Fender are celebrating 60 years of marriage.
LIFELONG LOVE: Bargara residents Jan and John Fender are celebrating 60 years of marriage.

 

Growing up in a small country town near Scone in New South Wales, John who was 17-years-old at the time met Jan, 16 from Balmain, at a social gathering organised by their church.

So when Jan accepted John's invitation to go on a date, he took her to a place where most teenagers fall in love - Sydney's infamous Luna Park.

"I think we may have been holding hands but I can't really remember - the memory isn't as good as it used to be," Jan said.

"We grew up in complete opposite areas of Sydney but just felt so comfortable with one another, so we started to go out and it kind of just evolved from there."

 

WEDDING BELLS: Jan and John Fender on their wedding day, almost 60 years ago.
WEDDING BELLS: Jan and John Fender on their wedding day, almost 60 years ago.

 

Together the pair have four children, 11 grandchildren and five great grandkids.

And despite money being tight growing up, their daughter Kerrie-Anne Gatt said her parents made up for it with incredibly fond memories.

"They both came from very poor families so money was always something that they lived without, but they have always given us everything we could have ever needed or wanted," Ms Gatt said.

"Their love was real and true from the very beginning and it has stayed through good and bad times."

 

FAMILY TIES: Bargara residents Jan and John Fender with their family are spread out and living across the country.
FAMILY TIES: Bargara residents Jan and John Fender with their family are spread out and living across the country.

 

Describing her mum as the maternal figure all her friends wanted (many of whom she unofficially adopted) and her dad as the real life version of Basil Fawlty from British sitcom Fawlty Towers with his humourous DIY attempts, Kerri-Anne said her family look back on their childhood very fondly.

"Our parents were always supportive and left us with very fun memories," she said.

"Mum volunteered all her life helping out at the children's hospital in Brisbane because she couldn't give money but she could give her love and so she always did.

"And dad may not have been good with his various DIY projects, but he always gave it his best shot."

After visiting the Bundaberg region one holiday and falling in love with the surroundings, the pair packed up, sold their home in NSW and relocated to a Bundy retirement village in 2012.

With family scattered all over the country, the Bundaberg couple will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with close friends at the local tavern next Wednesday.


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