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Grafton couple Allen and Gwen Madden have recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Image: Contributed

Celebrating 65 years together

Emma Pritchard

The Maddens on their wedding day on January 6, 1956 when they married at St Matthews Anglican Church in Botany where they first met each other. Image: Contributed

As Allen and Gwen Madden (nee Herford), celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on January 6, the beloved couple from Grafton shared a few words of wisdom.

“You have to make sure you are considerate to your wife and you listen to what she has to say,” Mr Madden said good naturedly.

“She (Gwen) has the good ideas, all wives do.”

The couple met in Sydney at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Botany where they later married before relocating to the Clarence Valley where Mr Madden spent close to 20 years teaching woodwork at Grafton High School.

The couple welcomed two sons, Peter in 1958 and Rodney in 1960.

In the early 1970’s the couple built and managed the Espana Motel in South Grafton and extended their business in the early 1980’s when they built the Espana Apartments.

A few years later, they purchased and renovated the Key Lodge Motel in Grafton and worked alongside their eldest son Peter and daughter-in-law Lyn in the motel business.

An astute builder with a dedicated eye for detail, Mr Madden and his wife also built the education centre at the Christ Church Cathedral.

“Gwen and I were in business for 25 years,” Mr Madden recalled.

“We never had any great difficulties.

“Gwen did all the clerical work and I did all the building.

“It’s a great achievement to take a project from the planning stage to fitting out the building and moving into the establishment.”

Nowadays, the couple are enjoying their retirement in Grafton and reflecting on the many friendships and memories they have established over the past 65 years.

Born and raised in Lismore, Mr Madden describes Grafton and the Clarence Valley as a lovely, quiet place to live.

“The world just floats by and we just love the atmosphere,” he said.

“Gwen is from Sydney and she was happy to come here to live after we got married and we also had our honeymoon in Yamba.

“I go to the GDSC and I see people I taught at school there and I now play bowls with them.

“Nearly every student I taught, if I meet them in the street or at bowls, it’s always so joyful to see them and you can still greet them and they show me the respect they showed me when I was teaching.”

The Maddens celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary by having afternoon tea together with their loving family and friends before enjoying a celebratory dinner at the Village Green.

The couple have five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and treasure every moment they are able to spend together.

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