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Marriage made in heaven

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Seventy years together and they wouldn’t change a thing … Maureen and Sydney Edwards in their Caringbah home holding their wedding photo. PHOTO: ALPHONSUS FOK

Caringbah couple who wed in the dark believe God has shone a bright light on their seventy year union

Light shone on Sydney and Maureen Edwards’ marriage … literally.

The young couple arrived at Arncliffe’s St Francis Xavier Church to find it in complete darkness due to a blackout and decided to continue with their wedding with only candles lighting up the altar.

Just as they exchanged vows, the lights flickered back on which they believed was a sign from above that their union had God’s blessing.

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Seventy years later and celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary, the Caringbah couple say they have walked life’s path hand-in-hand and enjoyed a marriage – mostly – made in heaven.

Maureen and Sydney, young couple.

Letters of recognition celebrating the milestone from The Queen, Governor General David Hurley, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP only confirming what a tremendous achievement their long union has been.
“It’s been a marvellous 70 years together, and we honestly wouldn’t change a thing,” Maureen, 90, smiled.

“In some ways it feels like yesterday, standing at the altar with the candles flickering was very romantic, I remember feeling the happiest I have ever felt in my life.

“Having all of our family and friends come together with us to celebrate was just beautiful.

“We honestly were surprised we made our 50th wedding anniversary but now celebrating our 70th is unbelievable.

“We have had such a lovely life together and couldn’t imagine it any other way.”

The young pair met in 1951 when they were both working at Nestle in Sydney, and married a year later and settled in Arncliffe.

Maureen with her five children.

In 1953 they purchased a block of land in Caringbah and moved into their new home where they raised their five children, Stephen, Carmel, Phillip, Gregory and Kathryn. Sadly, Phillip passed away in 2013.

The couple were active supporters of many junior associations including Cronulla-Caringbah Junior Rugby League Club, Cronulla Marching Girls Association and De La Salle Football and Cricket clubs. He played cricket with De La Salle alongside his sons, and umpired for Sutherland Junior Cricket Association, becoming a life member.

In 1967 when the Cronulla Sharks joined the NRL competition, he was a doorman for the team’s change rooms at Sutherland Oval.

She spent many years volunteering in the school tuckshop at Our Lady of Fatima primary school as well as cleaning the Church and helping with the flowers.

Members of the parish for 67 years, parish priest Fr Julian Belich congratulated the long-time parishioners on their milestone and thanked them for their many years of service.

Today, they have 17 grandchildren, 19 (soon to be 20) great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.

In recognition of their milestone anniversary, letters of congratulations were received from Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP and The Queen.

And while they say there’s no secret to such a long-lasting relationship, honouring the vows they made and simply “loving one another” has always been at the heart of their relationship.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage, that’s for sure,” Syd, 92, grinned and winked.

“We’ve had our fair share of worries over the years, anyone who tells you married life is a fairy tale is crazy.

“But I guess looking back we have always honoured the vows we made to each other, been patient and cared for one another.

“Getting married to Maureen was the happiest day of my life, I can’t remember ever being happier.

“I have always joked that when the lights finally came on in the church on the day we got married I said ‘oh it’s you’.

A lifetime of love … Sydney and Maureen Edwards surrounded by their family.

“My best man was late, there was a blackout in the church and the last thing my parents said was “it wouldn’t last” but looking back we sure proved them wrong.

“Maureen has been the love of my life and I couldn’t imagine doing it all with anybody else.”

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