Wingham residents Les and Hazel Reeves celebrate 75 the Wedding Anniversary

Happy couple: Hazel and Les Reeves celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Les is wearing his old station master's hat. Photo: supplied
Happy couple: Hazel and Les Reeves celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary. Les is wearing his old station master's hat. Photo: supplied

Gardens have been the special interest that Les and Hazel Reeves have share for 75 years.

Last year they said goodbye to their precious vegetable and flower gardens at their family home where they raised their six children for nearly seven decades.

At 96, the couple has finally retired and moved not far away to Whiddon Wingham aged Care facility, where Hazel is delighted that she doesn't even have to make her own cup of tea.

Les and Hazel share a lovely room where their wedding photo hangs on the wall.

Hazel and Les with granddaughter Simone, and some of the children Gordon, Rhonda, Max and Lesley. "We all got in on the act wearing Mum's flowers," Lesley said.

Hazel and Les with granddaughter Simone, and some of the children Gordon, Rhonda, Max and Lesley. "We all got in on the act wearing Mum's flowers," Lesley said.

On St Patrick's Day last week the couple celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with family and their new extended family and friends.

State member, Stephen Bromhead also popped in to share a cuppa.

Dairy farmer Les, from Warrawillah, met Hazel Hamilton, the pretty young cook from the Mayo Hospital, at one of the popular dances at the old Belmore Hall in Taree in 1944.

It was on an outing to Port Macquarie that Les popped the question. They had climbed to the top of the tower of historic St Thomas Anglican Church when Hazel's fate was sealed. Les declared that if she didn't marry him, he'd throw her over the tower!

They chose St Patrick' Day, March 17, 1945 to tie the knot at St John's Anglican Church, Taree.

Les joined the railway and became station master at Wingham, also relieving other stations in the region for the next 37 years.

To help supplement the income and raise their six children he also worked on his days off at the adjacent railway goods yard which was a hive of industry in the old days. Train loads of produce and livestock destined for Flemington Markets were handled daily.

When the children were young, Hazel joined a contingent of women who carried out the back breaking work of picking peas and beans for commercial growers in the region.

Later, she cooked at both hotels in Wingham and still managed to have wholesome meals on the table for her large family every night - and there was always enough for a few extra visitors!

As well as having a wholesale nursery growing African violets for large chain stores, Hazel ran a Pots'n Plants shop in the Wingham Arcade for a number of years where she was able to hone her horticultural and floristry skills - a love she has passed on to all of the family.

When they retired Les enjoyed his travels to Darwin and the Gulf, Cairns and annual fishing sojourns to Mungundi with mates while Hazel was content to stay at home with her family, pets, plants and her cooking.

They celebrate their milestone with their six children, Rhonda, Lesley, Gordon, Max, Ian and Lorrae and many of their 15 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.