Marriage milestone for care home residents


After 60 years of marriage, Barry and Karene Lawrence still remember to make time to have lunch together each day.

The two residents moved into Bupa Winara Care Home in 2016 and celebrated their special wedding anniversary recently with their three children, seven grandchildren, one great grandchild and their resident friends.

Barry said after the initial blind date of a walk around a local park in Christchurch all those years ago, the two drifted apart.

“The first blind date went very well but we lost contact. Then a couple of years later I was relieving as a movie projectionist in Ashburton, where Karene lived, and I noticed her take her seat in the cinema. I invited her up to the projectionist booth and we sort of took it from there.”

The couple both worked in various healthcare positions over the years, Barry as an administrator and Karene as a care home caregiver and assistant manager. These healthcare jobs, and Barry’s military service, took them both around the country living in 19 different houses at last count. From Christchurch to Hanmer Springs, Levin to Wellington, Palmerston North to Waiheke Island, the couple finally decided to retire in Kapiti in 2005.

Barry says the secret to a long marriage has been trust, faithfulness and communication. He says Karene had a talent for cooking and he fondly remembers she always made him one of his favourites.

“She made a delicious kidneys on toast which was my favourite for breakfast.”

Now both with health ailments, 82 year old Barry is in rest home level care while 81 year old Karene is in hospital level, the couple are happy to look back on their 60 years together and stay put in the care home they call home.

“Yes we moved around a lot during our married life while raising children, and it’s actually given us a lot of memories to look back on too.”