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Seventy years strong . . . George and Aura James celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last week at Iona Home in Oamaru. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

Seventy years into marriage, George James reckons he and wife Aura are only about halfway through.

The couple celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary on April 11 at Iona Home, where they both live.

Mrs James (nee Twining) grew up at Shag Point, where her family owned a coal mine, before moving to Port Chalmers to work at a shirt factory.

It was on her daily commute to work that she caught the eye of Mr James, who worked nearby as a boilermaker, building and repairing ships.

They were officially introduced to each other at a “wharfies” dance, where Mrs James was impressed by the dancing of her future husband.

“We have always loved dancing,” Mrs James said.

They got married at Iona Church in Port Chalmers, where they were living at the time, on April 11, 1948, and Mr James recalled walking to the ceremony with his best man.

“Aura was a bit late and we had passed four pubs on the way and I said to my best man ‘we should’ve stopped for a drink in each to celebrate the occasion’,” he said.

“But my best man pointed out if we did that, we might have missed it all together.”

Their honeymoon had to be postponed after Mrs James succumbed to the measles.

During their 70 years of marriage they had remained a close couple, supporting each other throughout good and bad times.

“Like most people we have had our ups and downs, but we struggled through,” Mr James said.

Mr James continued to work as a boilermaker, and was made a life member of the New Zealand Federation of Boat Builders and Bridge Builders, as well as the Port Chalmers Rugby Club (now part of the Harbour Rugby Club) and Awamoa Bowling Club.

In 1988, they moved to Oamaru, to be close to family. The couple have seven children, 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.