A South West love story

Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Keith and Jen Billingham will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day.
Camera IconKeith and Jen Billingham will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day. Credit: Briana Fiore/Harvey-Waroona Reporter/Briana Fiore

Forget Romeo and Juliet as this happy Australind couple prepare to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary this Valentine’s Day.

February 14 marks 50 years since Jen and Keith Billingham tied the knot.

They met in England at a dance after being set up by friends on a blind date.

“I was staying at my friend’s house and this boy asked her to the dance, but she told him she couldn’t go because I didn’t have a date, so he said he’d bring along one of his friends,” Mrs Billingham recalled.

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Mr Billingham was that friend and said they instantly got on as soon as they met.

“We didn’t stop talking for the entire night and we were married 18 months later,” Mr Billingham said.

Mr Billingham also recalled almost missing the wedding half a century ago.

On my way to the wedding, I got stuck behind a snow plough in the Pennines as it was winter in England and I almost didn’t make the ceremony.

Keith Billingham

“We didn’t even mean for our wedding to fall on Valentine’s Day, it just happened to be a Saturday.”

The Australind couple have three children and 11 grandchildren and say the secret to a successful marriage is communication.

“Whenever we give a wedding present, we give the couple a meat platter and a carving set and we write on the gift card to tell them to sit at the table and talk and listen to each other,” Mrs Billingham said.

You need to want the same things, there’s no point gazing into each others eyes, you have to be looking in the same direction.

Jen Billingham

Mr Billingham said it was important to remember to be kind to each other.

“I make Jen a coffee every morning and bring it in for her to wake up to, it’s the small things that matter in a relationship,” he said.

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