Retirement village hosts wedding showcase

Bill and Marjorie Sommerville have been married for 72 years, the longest married couple living in Invercargill’s Peacehaven Village.
Isabel Hopkins’ dress was was hand embroidered by
the nuns of Tenerife and was first worn by her mother in 1913 before being worn at her own wedding 57 years later.

SEVENTY years worth of wedding memorabilia was put on display by the residents of Invercargill’s Peacehaven Village last week.

The display showcased items from the residents’ and carers’ weddings, from the 1950s, right up to last year.

Peacehaven Village liaison Karen Harvey said the exhibit came about after someone at their last activity meeting mentioned there was a wedding dress in the village and there might be other wedding memorabilia around to contribute to a display.

‘‘We put an ad in our weekly newsletter, not knowing if we’d get one thing, or three things, or five things.

‘‘We ended up displaying memorabilia from about 30 individual weddings from over the course of 70 years, from the earliest couple married in the village right through to the village manager who was married last year.’’

Isabel Hopkins had a frock at the exhibit which was made for her mother’s wedding and worn in 1913, then worn again by Mrs Hopkins at her own wedding 57 years later.

‘‘When I went to get married Mum said, ‘I think you’d fit into that frock’.’’

The dress was delivered to New Zealand in panels, sewn together, and hand embroidered by the nuns of Tenerife — including adding whale bones in the neck.

‘‘It was nice to be able to wear it again.’’

The longest married couple in the village, Bill and Marjorie Sommerville, who were married on March 3, 1950, in Scotland, had several photos of their wedding at the exhibit.

‘‘It’s passed very quickly, and we had four children which kept us very busy,’’ Mrs Sommerville said.

‘‘We seem to be happy everywhere we go.

‘‘And Johnny Walker follows me everywhere,’’ Mr Sommerville said.