Romance began at softball match

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Just over 60 years ago, a young character with telescopic forks on his bike rolled up to a softball match at Friendly Bay and swept a young woman off her feet.

The man was Stan Rusbatch.

A week later, the same man, well-dressed and charming, arrived at the community dance at the Scottish Hall and danced the night away with the future Mrs Rusbatch.

Stan and Joy Rusbatch are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today with a small gathering of friends.

Mrs Rusbatch said she doesn’t know where the 60 years have gone.

“They go so quickly when you’re raising children.”

She said the time preceding the celebration had triggered a lot of thoughts, about family and where she had worked and, of course, Stan.

“He’s a lovely man, caring and a wonderful father.”

The couple say they are very lucky to have lived this long together and they refer to a saying that has stuck with them through the years: “Love is a feeling that you’re going to have, that you’ve never felt before.”

The Rusbatches were married at Columba Church in 1954 at 11am and had their wedding breakfast at the Scottish Hall.

Mrs Rusbatch said she would have liked to have had the breakfast at the Star and Garter Restaurant, but it was all booked out. This Saturday lunchtime, though, the couple will have their wish and celebrate their milestone at the restaurant with about 50 family and friends.

Earlier this week, they received cards from the Queen, Prime Minister John Key and the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae, which was ‘very exciting’.

By LINDA MCCARTHY