Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bet pays off for Terry and Coral

Deniliquin's Terry and Coral Parfrey will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next Monday.

TYLA HARRINGTON March 18, 2014 4:10am

Coral and Terry Parfrey on their wedding day in Wentworth, on March 24, 1964.

What started out as a bet has led to more than 50 years of treasured memories for Coral and Terry Parfrey.

The Deniliquin couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next Monday after being married on March 24, 1964 by Fr Higgins in the St Francis Xavier’s Church in Wentworth.

It was Terry who made the first move all those years ago when a couple of mates had bet against him being able to convince Coral to share a coffee with him.

‘‘She accepted but they didn’t pay up,’’ Terry said with a laugh.

Unlike most girls, Coral asked for a fridge instead of the traditional engagement ring, and ended up receiving both.

In the same year of marrying, Coral gave birth to their daughter Kerry not long followed by their son Shayne.

The family lived in Wentworth on a 20 hectare property full of fruit trees and often went to the drive-in for a night out.

In 1972 they packed up and headed north on ‘‘doctors orders’’, who said the atmosphere would help with their childrens asthma.

Once the family reached Townsville, Queensland, however a specialist told the family ‘‘to move to the ground you know’’.

Coral and Terry had visited friends before in Deniliquin and enjoyed it, so the family moved to Deniliquin in 1972.

‘‘We’ve loved Deniliquin – we couldn’t move back to Wentworth,’’ Coral said.

‘‘The hardest thing about making the move was we had to buy fruit, and we never had to when we were in Wentworth.’’

Terry worked at Community Health in Deniliquin for about 34 years and Coral worked at Home Care for 14 years.

Working didn’t impact Coral’s motherly duties, however.

‘‘My daughter said to me one day, ‘Thanks for always being there when we come home’,’’ Coral said.

In 2000, Coral and Terry suffered every parents worst nightmare when their daughter, Kerry, died from an asthma attack.

Kerry’s son, Bradley, had already lost his father Phillip Renwick so he moved in with Coral and Terry – where he’s been ever since.

The couple have two more grandchildren – Jess and Josh – and three ‘‘step grandchildren’’, Brianna, Lachlan and David – their daughter-in-law Nicole Parfrey’s children.

In her spare time Coral can be found playing lifeball or at the Deniliquin RSL Club on Friday nights, while Terry enjoys a good game of football on the TV screen at home.

In that sense, Coral says ‘‘opposites do attract’’.

‘‘We were married at 7pm on a Tuesday ... a handsome man he was,’’ Coral said with a laugh.

‘‘It’s been full of ups and downs – losing our daughter was the worst thing we’ve ever experienced.’’

Terry has remembered every wedding anniversary and ‘‘always’’ has a gift ready weeks in advance, however, insists Coral, ‘‘often forgets.’’

‘‘He says ‘always’ but I think it was once,’’ Coral said.

‘‘I try to get him gifts but, as he says, ‘I sometimes forget’.

‘‘Terry has always bought me something for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas and anniversaries.

‘‘It mightn’t be what I want but it’s always a gift,’’ she said, before Terry adds: ‘‘Beggars can’t be choosers’’.

For the Parfreys, 2014 marks many milestones. Terry has already celebrated his 70th birthday in January and Coral will celebrate hers in April, while their grandson, Bradley, will celebrate his 21st birthday in November.

The couple plan to enjoy dinner at a restaurant to mark the golden anniversary, and have received letters of congratulations from Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, NSW Governor Marie Bashir and MP Parliament of NSW Shelley Hancock.

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