Maree and Damian Whitley finally tied the knot in Gympie on Saturday.
Maree and Damian Whitley finally tied the knot in Gympie on Saturday. Renee Pilcher

Damian says yes

GYMPIE dad and newlywed Damian Whitely likes to read his Saturday newspaper from front to back, then from back to front, and then from front to back again.

This process normally does not faze Maree, his partner of 12 years and mother of his three children, but this Valentine's Day it had her eyebrow twitching in agitation.

After 10 rejected marriage proposals Maree wasn't taking any chances.

She had taken out an ad in The Gympie Times' classifieds and hustled Damian over to his parents' house before he started reading the paper to make sure she got the answer she was looking for.

He had turned her down too many times before.

Maree's heart was gone from the minute she met Damian at her mother and step-father's Chatsworth property on September 18, 2000.

The chemistry was instant.

Damian had gone there to collect some money from Maree's uncle for engine work he had done for him.

He got more than one motor running that day.

The following year Maree moved out of home for the first time in her life, and in with Damian.

Their eldest daughter Kheisha, 8, arrived a couple of years later, followed by Chae, 6, and Jaide, 2.

"I had asked Damian to marry me 10 times and he always said no," says Maree.

"He always said it was not the right time and he wanted to do it properly and ask dad and all that stuff.

"I was not happy with that. I wanted to get married."

Being a leap year - when it is traditionally okay for a woman to ask her man to marry her - Maree thought she stood a good chance this year.

But Damian wasn't looking at the love advertisements.

He read the paper three times before Maree finally cracked, and told him to turn to a certain page.

"He said, 'What do I have to read this thing about poly tanks for?'" said Maree.

"His father said 'No, look at the top right hand corner'."

And there it was.

Damian said yes straight away and Maree set a date and started making wedding bookings - she still wasn't taking any chances.

"I thought alright, it'll make her happy," he said yesterday.

The couple wed on Saturday.

Gympie Times


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