The Speeches


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Do you realise that Michelle and Ben very nearly didn't meet? I met Fleur ten years before we started going out together. Although I was very keen on her from the first moment, fate had other plans for us both and we lost touch. Had we got together from the time we met, Michelle would now be ten years older, so she and Ben would not have been at Sydney Uni. at the same time. So either I was very far-sighted or we were all just plain lucky!

My first recollection of Michelle was about five minutes before she was actually born. There was a loud, impatient cry, and I said to the doctor “That couldn't possibly be the baby, could it?” He answered that it was. So it was established from the outset that Michelle would always have plenty to say for herself!

Since that time, I've stored up so many happy memories of good times shared with my daughter – reading her stories, making up stories, collecting shells at the beach, bushwalking with Michelle on my back, her swimming lessons, her first days at kindy, school and Uni. and teaching her to drive. The positive thing about that experience was that it definitely went better than when my father gave me driving lessons! Michelle and I still enjoy going to the Motor Show together every year.

I also have fond memories of our many family holidays, both here and in other parts of the world, and remember in particular one of the early holidays, when Michelle was 10 months old and we were on Magnetic Island, staying in a resort where the accommodation was excellent, but the food left something to be desired. After a couple of meals there, Michelle refused to eat, but when we took her to a five-star French restaurant, we couldn't get her to stop! She was a connoisseur then and is still one now, as can be seen from her excellent choice of a five-star life partner.

It's been a great pleasure watching her develop into the person she is today. I've always been especially appreciative of her honesty and integrity, and as far as those qualities are concerned, she couldn't have chosen a better partner than Ben, who also has them in abundance.

Michelle and Ben knew each other a long time before they got together as a couple, and when they did, we couldn't have been more delighted. It's a great pleasure to see them so happy together.

It's been said that one doesn't just marry one's partner, but his family as well, and as far as this is concerned, Michelle could not have made a better choice. Fleur and I are very fond of every member of Ben's family. That's the bonus that came with Ben – the icing on the cake. In fact, I don't feel it necessary to welcome Ben and his family into our lives today, as we've considered them to be family for quite a long time now.

I'll finish with the wish that Michelle and Ben will be as happy together as Fleur and I have been for the last 31 years.