Ian and Diane: A 50-Year Love Story


It was February 13th, 1969. Seventeen-year old Ian Jackson was at Nirimba Naval Base doing his last year of an apprenticeship. Once a month, Nirimba would host a dance on base and would drive out to Penrith to pick girls up wanting to attend. On this day, Ian, dressed in a black and gold uniform, was the designated host on the bus. Diane Thomson was not keen to attend the dance, but her cousin and parents managed to convince the seventeen-year old to go.

Diane’s parents drove into Penrith to check the girls got on the bus. Upon arrival, they found the blue Navy bus bearing down High Street with no Diane or cousin on it. The girls had gone for a walk to buy mints and missed the bus! Diane’s Mum got out of her car, ran across the road wildly waving for the bus to stop and fell over in the middle of the highway ripping her stockings.

Soon after, Diane and her cousin sauntered back, none the wiser, to find the bus waiting for them. That evening Diane met ‘this really handsome sailor’ who asked her out. It was Ian, and so their love story began.

When Diane arrived home that night, her mum explained her traumatic experience she had with the bus and the ‘gentle handsome sailor’ who rushed to her aid. Diane’s Dad commented, “Never mind Mum. You will never see him again so don’t worry”. Boy was he wrong! The next day, Ian came to the family home to meet Diane’s parents only to discover that he was the ‘gentle handsome sailor’ who aided her Mum when she fell. 

After six weeks of dating, Diane and Ian were totally in love and just under three years later were married at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Penrith. Fast forward fifty years and they have three children, seven grandchildren and are expecting their first great grandchild in March.

Diane believes the secrets to a long successful marriage are; “Never take each other for granted. Kindness and courtesy should be normal. Always remember how much you loved each other when you fell in love. That love is the bedrock. Have faith in God. He brought you together for a reason. He heard the promises you made to each other. He will be your strength and guide as you navigate the hard times. Enjoy each other, have fun, believe in each other, have a thankful heart, be loyal and make time for each other. The best is yet to come”.


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