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Renewing a lifetime of love

Couples across Gibraltar renewed their vows at the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned, with some celebrating over 60 years of marriage.

Celebrating 62 years of marriage next September is Arthur and Matilde Hemmi.

“I have always been I love with her, always,” Mr Hemmi said.

At the age of 17 he met his future wife who was 15 at the time, three years later they married.

“She used to work in Emporium and we would walk up and down Main Street like we did in those days looking for our second half.”

“I saw her and I said ‘this is going to be my wife’ and so I went after her,” he lovingly recalled.

The couple lived close by each other growing up in Humphreys and their lives have brought them three children, two sons and one daughter.

They then became grandparents of six, three boys and three girls.

On Christmas Day last year Mr Hemmi “promoted to great grandfather” with the birth of their first great grandchild, a girl.

Their life has not been without overcoming challenges and one of those challenges was Mrs Hemmi’s hard fought battle with cancer 20 years ago. More recently, last year she had to undergo a tracheostomy.

“We have had some rough times, but we are still together thank God,” said Mr Hemmi.

Also celebrating 62 years this summer are Joseph and Maria Gloria Celecia, on what will be Mr Celecia’s 85th birthday.

The couple met when she was 15 and he was 17 when they both spotted each other on Main Street.

It wasn’t until an athletics meeting at Victoria Stadium that they got to know each other more.

Their marriage gave them three children, two girls and a boy, six grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.

The eldest of which is 15 years old and the youngest eight months.

“He’s a good person,” Mrs Celecia said of her husband before getting very emotional.

“It makes me very emotional because I love him a lot.”

“Through all the ups and downs of life we are there for each other.”

Not everyone who was due to have their vows renewed could make it.

Couple Henry and Carmelina Smart were unable to attend the wedding vows renewals due to Covid-19, but this year in June they celebrate 61 years of marriage.

“I was 15 when I met Henry, he was 16, I lived on Bell Lane and he on Castle Rd and we met somewhere in between,” she recalled.

“He is a very good husband. I have been very lucky.”

She added that not only is he a loving and considerate husband to her but that he was also great with their children, two daughters and a son, as well as helping everyone and anyone who needed help.

“We travelled a lot, we have done a cruise, we have had a good life,” she said.

That good life has also brought them six grandsons and one granddaughter with Mrs Smart becoming a grandmother at the age of 41 she said. The couple also have three great grandsons.

“We have been very lucky, we are happy and we have never had any problems with our daughters or sons. We have had a lucky life,” she added.

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