Cheryl and Terry Barnes
Cheryl and Terry Barnes

Couple still rocking on after 50 years

AS CHERYL and Terry Barnes walked out of Christ Church Cathedral the clouds parted, and the sun beamed down on the newlyweds.

“It was beautiful, we thought, ‘oh the sun has come out, life is going to be good’,” Cheryl said.

That was exactly 50 years ago and the Grafton couple laugh as they reflect on how two people from opposite sides of the Clarence river, came to be together.

“I was a South Grafton girl and Terry grew up in Grafton, but the river does not divide.

“I used to work up the road (from Terry) at the dairy company and I walked past his work every day to get morning tea and the mail,” Cheryl said.

“One day I thought I felt eyes on me and I turned around and he had his head poked around the door.”

Terry jokes Cheryl was a dairy maid “in a beautiful pink skirt” but Cheryl is adamant she worked in the office.

Cheryl and Terry Barnes
Cheryl and Terry Barnes

“It started at hello, and of course he then asked me out at the bar,” she said.

“And I have to tell you he is the first boy I kissed – I saw him and said he is the one.”

It wasn’t until after they met that Ms Barnes discovered – much to her delight – that Terry was a guitarist and she quickly began travelling with him to shows. Terry even counted Don Walker, of Cold Chisel fame, a bandmate.

“Someone said to me ‘he plays in a band’ and at 18 I was a teeny bopper and I loved music,” she said.

“So I enjoyed going with him when he was in bands.”

The pair credit doing “virtually everything together” as one reason for their enduring partnership, even running the family business, T & C Barnes Electric Motors and Power Tools, for 35 years. It was perfect match with “Terry the toolman” as “the fixer” and Cheryl on the books.

But that wasn’t the sole reason they have kept their love so strong.

“Never go to bed angry with each other and always say I love you at night. And we wake up in the morning with ‘I love you’.”

“We have done that all our lives and we have had a really happy marriage.”

June 20 is also significant because it is Terry’s birthday. And he said it made it easy to remember their wedding anniversary. “It was a great day and I thought ‘great, I’ll never forget it’,” he said.