The Speeches


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Peter has already welcomed everyone to Michelle and Ben’s wedding and I also would like to extend a special welcome – it’s not everyday we have a wedding in our backyard!

Ben is the youngest of our three children and four years younger than Matt. Although he is four years younger, Ben was definitely not an accident –as he was a most wanted baby. Ben has always been a very affectionate person. I remember when Neroli was feeding him, he must have been about 4 months old, and in between us in our bed, he just put his arms up to have a cuddle. Nothing has changed!

Ben was a real favourite of Darry, Neroli’s maiden aunt who did a lot of babysitting for us while Neroli was working as a teacher. Darry would protect Ben at all costs, and he knew this and I think sometimes took advantage of it to the despair of Kylie and Matt.

Growing up, Ben has played a variety of sports, including soccer, rugby, a little bit of rugby league, golf, and tennis, playing for Terrey Hills in rugby and representing Warringah in Junior Football and University Colts, when he was studying at University. I remember when Ben first wanted to play tennis, he would have been only about 3 or 4 years old and he simply could not put the racquet on the ball. How things have changed and he developed into a very good tennis player. Good enough to chase my lobs and carry me through quite a few sets of tennis.

We, as a family, used to go to Craigieburn each year, early in the New Year. Craigieburn has its own 9 hole golf course, and Ben was about 5 and had just received from Santa a basic set of cut down golf clubs which he first used at Craigieburn. He was hitting his two wood about 50 meters down the fairway – and was usually pretty straight. I was trying to give him some advice, such as "don’t use your wood" – he was in a ditch at the time - he generally didn’t listen to me, but he still turned out to be a reasonable golfer.

Ben has always been a people person – something he was probably born with and he has the ability to meet and converse with anyone and on any level. He is also very musical, playing guitar, writing his own songs and singing when we have family get-togethers and at various pubs around town.

There were times when we thought that Ben was going to be a professional student, because he spent quite a bit of time at Uni. But he didn’t, and helped pay the bills whilst at Uni, by working at the local video shop.

Ben, I think, fell into working with computers and it has proved to be a fantastic vocation for him, and I think he loves what he is doing. He is a very creative and entrepreneurial person and always has ideas of what new products or services he can develop.

Ben has always been terrific with Neroli and me and nothing is too much trouble for him. He has always been a terrific son and Neroli and I love him very much.

One of the best things to come out of Sydney University was Michelle, whom he met there. I understand that they were good friends before the spark was first ignited. We had the pleasure of first meeting Michelle some six or so years ago, and everyone here knows she is a wonderful person. Michelle comes from a close and loving family and I have yet to see her without that fantastic smile.

Michelle and Ben are terrific together – you only have to see how they look at each other and Michelle goes along with Ben’s love of music and love of sport. Michelle has been part of our family for a long time now and we just think the world of her. We are very proud of all our own children and their partners and we are today, particularly proud of Michelle and Ben who are starting their married life together.

If I have any advice to give - it is that communication is most important – never stop communicating!

I would like to quote from the Irish blessing, "May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past". And from the Magic of Love by Helen Steiner Rice, "Love is the answer that everyone seeks, Love is the language that everyone speaks."

Michelle and Ben, may your married life be filled with love, laughter and happiness – much love always.

Michelle and Ben!