They said it'd never last but teen sweethearts still in love

BILL and Audrey Stephen, from Ballina, have really proved their knockers wrong.

The couple married at the tender age of 16 - with the approval of their parents - and admitted there were many who thought "it would never last".

But on October 4, they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Their secret, Audrey said, was to "keep on loving each other".

It all began with a blind date in 1943.

LONG MARRIAGE: Bill and Audrey Stephen, from Ballina, still together after 70 years.
LONG MARRIAGE: Bill and Audrey Stephen, from Ballina, still together after 70 years. Graham Broadhead

A mate of Bill's arranged for him to tag along on a double-date, but Bill didn't know who he was being lined up with.

Audrey, from Newrybar, had seen Bill in Lismore going to work as a men's hairdresser.

They met on what was known as the "ambulance corner" in Lismore, which is the corner of Conway and Keen streets.

Audrey was already impressed.

"I didn't like the mate much, but I liked Bill," she said. "He had a good head of hair and it was beautiful."

Bill returned the compliment.

"She was just beautiful," he said.

"I just knew (she was the one for me)."

Bill and Audrey can't remember all the details of that first meeting.

They think they went to the pictures, but "it was a long time ago".

However they both felt they had met the love of their lives and had to ask permission to marry.

Bill said it was unusual, even in those times, to marry so young.

He said he wasn't nervous at all about asking Audrey's folks for her hand in marriage.

"You're never nervous when you're young," he said.

They had met Bill several times before, and agreed to the marriage, though Audrey did admit they had some reservations.

"They thought Bill was pretty good," she said.


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