POWER OF LOVE: Couple celebrate 70th anniversary
FOR most of the Warwick community, today is marked by Good Friday celebrations, but for locals Ken and Marje Burley it is something even more special - their 70th wedding anniversary.
The couple, aged 91 and 87 respectively, had originally planned to have about seventy family members come and spend the weekend camped out under the stars on their 100-acre Warwick property, enjoying time together and celebrating the milestone.
While the coronavirus pandemic quickly put a stop to that idea, their family was still determined to make the day something special.
Mr Burley said he couldn't believe his eyes when this morning he saw a convoy of his family's cars driving into their property, waving balloons and signs wishing him and his wife a happy anniversary.
"All of a sudden, we had all the kids in their cars coming up the road, honking their horns and cheering - it almost looked like a funeral procession," Mr Burley joked.
"We had planned to have all of our family, about 75 of us all up, come up for a few days with their caravans, but the virus put a stop to all that.
So we thought it would just be the two of us here today, we hadn't organised anything."
Mrs Burley agreed that it was a surprise, and said she was very grateful to her family for coming to celebrate with them.
"We have the best family anyone could ever have - today was the most wonderful surprise," Mrs Burley said.
"I've had an absolutely wonderful life with my husband, he's the dearest man on Earth.
We have five children, 17 grandchildren, and 35 great-grandchildren, so I guess you could say we've done a fair bit in our time together."
One of the couple's granddaughters Peta Murphy said her grandparents have always been "incredibly inspiring", so finding a way to celebrate that would keep everyone involved safe was important to the entire family.
"They're still so in love and passionate for each other, and they both still come first for one another - it's very inspirational for me and my husband, and a lot of our family," Mrs Murphy said.
"They're from a generation where if something's broken, you fix it, and that shines through their relationship.
I think it's something this younger generation can learn from, especially in times like this lockdown where you realise what's actually important."
The couple, who met when they were both still teenagers, have spent the majority of their long relationship living and working across the Southern Downs, and say they aren't about to let age slow them down.
"I was originally from Texas, and I used to take Marje to dances and everything all over the place when we were young," Mr Burley said.
"Even now, we still have about 30 odd head of cattle on the farm, but I'm 91 years old and still running the place on my own so that's less than what it was.
We're both keen golfers too - I've been playing for fifty odd years, and we're both still members at the Warwick Golf Club."
Both husband and wife agreed that as much as it meant to them to have so many family members still make the effort to come and celebrate with them despite the virus outbreak, they didn't really need a special occasion to be thankful for their relationship.
"I guess seventy years is a long time, but it doesn't seem long - I can still even remember the day we got married," Mr Burley said.
"My darling wife here, I wouldn't change her for anything."