Coombrae Home residents Dennis and Gladys celebrate 70 years of marriage

For a couple at Coombrae Home in Feilding, a dance has led to 70 years of marriage.

Dennis and Gladys Wickham, long-time Feilding residents, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Tuesday.

The pair were wed in 1952 at the Methodist Church in Grey Street, Feilding, a few years after they met at a dance in a local hall.

Dennis remembers going to ask Gladys for the last dance and almost being beaten to the punch by another man, however, Gladys waved him over for the dance and the rest is history.

Going to dances in halls around the Manawatū region was common for them in those days, Dennis says.

“We used to go to dances once or twice a week before we got married, they were big. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of fun.”

Gladys grew up on a sheep farm in Kākāriki near the Rangitīkei River while Dennis grew up in Feilding. After they were married they lived in the same house on West Street in Feilding for 62 years. They moved in with their son for a few years before moving to Coombrae Home, which has been home for the past 18 months.

The couple were always into sport, Gladys played tennis, hockey, and golf, while Dennis’ sports of choice were rugby, cricket, tennis, and trout fishing.

They have three children, nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and they will be joined by their family for another celebration in a couple of weeks.

When asked what the secret is to such a long marriage, Dennis says it is simple.

“It’s our love for each other, there has never been any doubt about it.”

Enliven’s Coombrae Home and Village, located on North Street in Feilding, offers independent retirement villas, rest home and dementia care, short-term respite, as well as a day programme. To learn more about the home, visit or call the friendly team on 06 323 4491.

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