Romance slow to start, but lasts 60 years

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Roxburgh couple Rod and Judith Peirce are proof good things take time.

Mr and Mrs Peirce (nee Favel) were acquaintances for several years before a romance blossomed, sparking what has become 60 years of wedded bliss.

April 8 was their diamond wedding anniversary, which they celebrated with friends and family.

The couple first met when Mr Peirce visited the Favel family farm at Otama Valley, near Gore.

‘‘My mother, Alwyn Peirce, had offered three weeks’ accommodation for Judith’s sister who was learning ballet in Dunedin,’’ Mr Peirce said.

‘‘My trip [to the farm] later on was payback for looking after Judith’s younger sister.

‘‘I was just down there on a three-week holiday.’’

Mrs Peirce’s father, Noke Favel, later offered Mr Peirce work on the farm as a lamb drafting cadet.

However, it was not until three years after they first met that Mr and Mrs Peirce started dating.

They were engaged for a couple of years before getting married at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Gore when Mrs Peirce was 22 and Mr Peirce was 23.

Both agree that working together, but having their own interests had helped them achieve a long and happy marriage.

They have three sons, a daughter, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, who are spread throughout the world, including as far away as Scotland and Germany.

However, some have remained close, including just up the road in Millers Flat and Roxburgh.

The Peirces have a longstanding commitment to their community, having moved to Roxburgh from Millers Flat, where they had an orchard, about 29 years ago.

They open their home to a harmony group each Monday night, which Mrs Peirce, a piano teacher, launched 37 years ago.

Mrs Peirce was also the first woman on the Millers Flat School committee. She was a member for four years, including two years as chairwoman.

She also instigated the acquisition of the school’s first bus, which replaced the Valiant Regal car that used to do the school run in two trips.

There were 23 children to transport.

‘‘They were packed in like sardines. You would never get away with it these days,’’ she said.

Mr Peirce was a foundation member of the Millers Flat-Ettrick Volunteer Fire Brigade, which meant Roxburgh was no longer solely responsible for servicing the area.

He was with the brigade from 1967 to 1988, including 11 years as fire chief.

He later became chairman of the Millers Flat Hall and the Clutha Gold Trail.

His dedication to his work as committee member was evident the night of his wedding anniversary when he attended the Clutha Gold Trail’s monthly meeting, while Mrs Peirce enjoyed a quiet night in.