Penrith’s Real Sweeties: 63rd Valentine’s Day for Brian and Robyn

February 15, 2024

Article Originally Published by Cassidy Pearce from The Western Weekender

Brian and Robyn Stokes will be spending their 63rd Valentine’s Day together today. Though they won’t be celebrating to the extent they once did, they said they’ve realised they don’t need to, with every day spent together just as special.

Brian and Robyn met on a blind date, set up by friends, at 19 and 16 respectively. Brian proposed on just their third date, and they were married 11 months and 22 days later. According to Robyn, the two just knew it was meant to be. “You know as soon as you meet the right person, and that’s held out for 63 years in September,” she said.

After their wedding, Brian went to what was then Malaya for a year in the Army, followed by Vietnam for another year right after. Upon his return, both worked various jobs until they started their own business – Sweeties Confectionary. Now in the area for 40 years, the wholesale business is still going strong, run by their kids.

Brian and Robyn have lived in Penrith since 1971 in Leonay, until moving to The Royce just short of five years ago. Having only had two fights over the span of their time together, Robyn said the key to a long-lasting relationship is to learn to love each other’s hobbies. “If you want to be compatible, you’ve got to share,” she said. “We’ve learned to like what each other likes, so we both enjoy the cricket, football, country and western music because Brian liked it, and classical music because I liked it.” Brian agreed with the sentiment, adding how important it is to never stop talking. “When I was younger, I wouldn’t have gone to a stage show of any description because it wasn’t my thing, but now I really enjoy it, because first off, you have to, and then over time, you develop a liking for it,” he said.

It’s because of this that to this day the couple still does just about everything together. “I don’t go to bingo because it’s just not my thing, but that’s about the only thing we do separately,” Brian said. “In the Army, you’re constantly away for not only the years at a time, but you’ve also got months at a time that you’re away on operations and exercises and things like that. So, you’ve had enough time away from home then to not want to do it again when you get back.”

After all this time, Robyn admitted they’re not big on Valentine’s Day. “When we were younger, of course you do,” she said. “When you get older, you become content with your situation, and you’re comfortable with each other. You don’t have to rush out and get roses.” However, Brian assured they’ll still be spending time together doing their usual weekly activity at The Royce. “We’ll play trivia – it’ll probably be Valentine’s trivia!” he said.

Noting how much the dating sphere has changed over the years, Robyn recommends that young people take a page out of their book; get off the apps and start listening to those who know them best. “I think it’s hard for young people dating now. I’d hate to be in that position, because the young ones don’t have the same opportunities as back then,” she said. “I’m sure there’s the odd failure around, but I think friends are your best source.”