Aged care staff have had to carry a heavy burden of responsibility during this COVID pandemic, making sure the community's elderly and vulnerable residents stay safe from the virus.
Beyond that, they have also had to ensure the residents kept celebrating life, even when their routines were disrupted and lockdown prevented them from seeing treasured family members.
Belconnen couple Mark and Coral Tully are a case in point.
These 92-year-old love birds just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
The couple - long-time farmers from the Riverina - continue to live happily together, at the IRT Kangara Waters Aged Care Centre in Belconnen.
While the Tullys' family couldn't be there to share in the celebrations due to COVID-19 restrictions, the couple enjoyed marking their platinum anniversary with their friends and staff at the aged care centre.
The staff went above and beyond to ensure the anniversary was special, taking the couple back to that day in August 1951 when they became husband and wife, Mr Tully selling some lambs to fund the event and Mrs Tully making her own dress.
The aged care centre staff made a booklet about the couple's love story, sang love songs from the 1950s, provided a mini wedding cake and presented a handmade card from the neighbouring retirement village craft group.
The Tullys' daughter Susan Watkins, of Kaleen, said her parents deserved to be celebrated.
"I admire mum and dad a lot. People have always said that whenever you see Coral you know Mark isn't far away and whenever you see Mark you know Coral isn't far behind. They're always together and do everything as a team," Susan said.
Mark and Coral first met in the early 1940s when Mark moved into a boarding house in Forbes that was run by Coral's mother. On the day that Mark moved into the boarding house he was eating his dinner when Coral walked in, and he thought to himself, "There's a likely looking girl". After a win on the ponies Mark asked Coral out and they went to the pictures.
The couple married in 1951 and settled on a remote farming property in south-west Riverina that belonged to Mark's father who drew the block in the WWII Soldier Settlement after returning from service.
The Tullys spent their first 18 months on the property living in a hut which had previously been used as shearer's quarters on a sheep station. Lighting was from the dairy petrol motor.
The couple endured many hardships as they turned their land into a productive farm to make a living. They worked the paddocks and set up home in very trying and isolated conditions. [The phone wasn't put on at their house until 1956 and electricity in the mid-1960s.]
They shared the fears and frustrations of these times together as well as the good times and provided support, encouragement and comfort to each other.
The Tullys lived on the farm for 66 years and raised three children: Susan, Andrew and Ian. They now have nine grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.
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Four years ago, Mark and Carol moved from their property to the aged care centre in Belconnen.
"My parents are happy they are together and have a lovely relationship with the staff at IRT Kangara Waters," Susan said.
Before COVID restrictions, Susan would visit her parents every day and often take them on outings for lunches, afternoon teas, picnics by the lake or in a park nearby and visits with family. Susan says family means everything to her parents. Let's hope they can all catch up again soon.
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