Ipswich couple Clare and Stan Patch celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on December 30.
Ipswich couple Clare and Stan Patch celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on December 30. Rob Williams

Cheeky line led to life together

WHEN Stan and Clare Patch met by chance at a dance in Ipswich 64 years ago it must have been an encounter that was meant to be.

The future couple met in St Paul's hall during the progressive barn dance and yesterday Mr Patch recalled delivering a knockout line.

“It must have been love at first sight because when I got to Clare I said: ‘We'll get married and we'll have 13 kids'. She said: ‘I don't believe in odd numbers; we'll either have 12 or 14',” he said.

“That's the first time I saw him,” Mrs Patch said. “I didn't know who he was. I thought: I've got to find out who this bloke is.”

They had one child, Ipswich Turf Club chairman and businessman Wayne Patch, and Stan and Clare couldn't be more proud of him and his wife Jane and their children Melissa, Natalie and Steven.

Despite the spontaneity of their first meeting it was four years before Mr and Mrs Patch married because Stan, an apprentice electrician, had to raise the money to buy a ring.

“I couldn't afford to get married. I was on 23 pounds and nine pence a week and once I took board out of that there wasn't much left,” Mr Patch said. “I boarded with my sister out near Blair School and rode my bike to work every day.

“We lived with Clare's mum and dad for three and a half years after we got married.”

Mr and Mrs Patch were married on December 30, 1950 in Sacred Heart Church Booval and went to Noosa for their honeymoon.

“I'm sure she could have got someone better with more money and a car. She must have seen something in me,” Mr Patch joked.

“I did,” Mrs Patch replied. “He was always full of fun and always joking. We had our moments. And still do. But we just hit it off.”

However both agreed that while it was important to enjoy their times together, it was just as important to treasure time apart.

“When I retired in 1987 Clare said to me: ‘I married you for better and for worse but not for lunch',” Mr Patch said.

“You have to have that time apart so you're glad to see each other again,” Mrs Patch explained.

“I think it's just a mutual understanding you need to stay together because you have your good days and your bad days.

“You hope the good days outweigh the bad days and I think they have with us.”



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