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Mewlyweds ... Thelma and Brian Smith step out of the historic St Stephen's Church in Tuahiwi last Saturday after their wedding ceremony conducted by celebrant Phil Harris. Photo: Shelley Topp

By SHELLEY TOPP

A couple in their 80s who met on a dating website for people over 70 have married in Tuahiwi.

The service took place last Saturday afternoon in the historic St Stephen’s Church before a small group of family and close friends.

It was the second marriage for Thelma Robertson, aged 89, and Brian Smith, aged 88, of Woodend.

“I am the toy boy,” Brian quipped before the service, conducted by marriage celebrant Phil Harris.

Following the deaths of their spouses, friends noticed how lonely Thelma and Brian were and persuaded them to put their personal details on the dating website in search of companionship.

Both were initially reluctant, but eventually decided to try the modern way of dating.

They were then living in Auckland and met in person for the first time at a coffee shop in Henderson.

The pair clicked immediately, finding they had many common interests, including gardening and dancing.

Thelma also liked Brian for being “nice and polite” and walking on the “right side” of the footpath closest to the road when they were together.

After they began going out together, Thelma found that Brian was also “very romantic and a bit cheeky”.

However, just three months into their relationship, one of Thelma’s grandsons had a tricky question for her.

“Nanna, are you going to live with Brian?” he asked.

At the time, she had no idea how to answer his question.

“Seven years later here we are getting married,” she said before last Saturday’s service.

The couple eventually did decide to live together.

“We are very modern and this is the trend to try before you buy,” Brian said.

However, they both believe in the sanctity of marriage and eventually decided they wanted to formalise their relationship in that way. But there was no formal proposal.

“There was no pressure. She just kept asking me every week,” Brian joked.

Brian, who has a brown belt in karate, and Thelma, a bowler who represented New Zealand, have an optimistic outlook on life.

“Yesterday is history, today is a gift, tomorrow is a mystery,” Thelma said. “Live each day the best you can and always be positive.”