A Valentine's Day love story that has spanned 65 years
THEY grew up on opposite sides of the railway track, but weekly dances and trips to the pictures saw young love blossom between Neil and Vi McCosker.
The Emerald youngsters were separated by school, but soon fell for each other once they met as teens.
"I didn't have to go far to find her," Neil said.
"She was a particularly good dancer and had been dancing since early in life.
"She became a very popular dancer, which I wasn't.
"I had a lot of trouble getting a dance."
But Neil's persistence paid off and eventually he got a chance to woo Vi on the dance floor.
In the end, Neil said he didn't care how many people Vi danced with because he was the lucky guy who got to take her home.
"I never got any better, she probably did," he said.
"She was a very popular dancer, everybody wanted to dance with her.
"That made me more proud of the fact I was the one who took her home."
Although they had limited time together outside the dances, Neil said it didn't take long for them to realise they had found the perfect match.
"I think we knew we were pretty right for each other," he said.
"There was never any doubt in our minds that we were going to get married, we just decided we were going to have to wait until we were 21."
It's a plan they stuck to and last week, the pair celebrated 65 years together, surrounded by their ever growing family.
Neil said the pair hadn't planned to let marriage stop their weekly dances, but the start of their family soon put an end to that.
Vi ran the family house "like clockwork" according to Neil, who managed the family sheep property at Emerald until 1959 when a farm accident left him badly injured.
The family then moved to Clermont where they would spend the next 13 years and continue to extend their brood.
"Those 13 years we've often said were the most happy years of our lives," Neil said.
While Neil said their large family "certainly wasn't planned", he wouldn't have it any other way.
"We've got the happiest family you could ever believe," he said.
Sadly the couple have been separated by illness since they moved to Rockhampton in their retirement, with Vi now in full time care with Alzheimer's Disease.
But Neil said the pair enjoyed a special day together on Sunday, February 4 surrounded by dozens of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Of more than 60 people at the party, Neil said only a handful weren't family members.
"It was absolutely amazing," he said.
"It makes you feel very good.
"It's unbelievable really.
"Back in my young days if people could get to 65 before they died, they did very well.
"To get to 65 years of marriage is unimaginable, it's incredible."
Neil has just one simple piece of advice for others hoping to reach the same milestone: "make sure you pick the right one"