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A hand to hold for 78 years, Frank and Rena celebrate love no matter what

22nd October 2020

Meeting as teenagers in wartime UK, Frank and Rena O’Neil celebrated their milestone 78 year wedding anniversary on Friday 23 October at Benetas’ Mornington Peninsula aged care home, Corowa Court.

Amidst ongoing aged care home restrictions across Victoria, the couple joined over a romantic afternoon- tea served by the Corowa Court team with roses, old photos, and even a violin to serenade them from one of the staff.

Lifestyle Coordinator, Rebekah Wissman, who helped arrange the event with the Community Engagement Team, said they were quite the star couple. “Frank and Rena have lived with us for over three years and so often when we see them, they’re walking together hand in hand,” she said.

“It’s heartwarming to see two people in love and caring for one another after so many years. It gives us hope!”

Frank who turned 99 just this month, said marriage advice for anyone looking to maintain a strong relationship was to “be kind no matter what.”

The couple live between two rooms at the home with one setup as their lounge room and the other as their bedroom. Ms Wissman reports that Frank’s often heard saying “I’ll do anything for Rena.”

The couple met playing in the street as teenagers and then married a few years later in 1942 when Rena was 17 years old and Frank was 19.

“We had just finished our wedding vows when there was an air raid and we all ran for cover,” Frank said. “There were huge rations at the time so we didn’t have any champagne, wine or cake to celebrate with.”

Reflecting 78 years later and Frank continues to say that Rena is indeed as close to perfect as he knows.