Love at first sight – at the age of eight

When he was just eight years old, Nelson Joyce spied a little girl, Helen, in his class at Gordon Public School and started sending her notes. Fast forward 83 years and Nelson and Helen were celebrating their 70th Wedding Anniversary at a Baulkham Hills restaurant with their seven children.

The Living Choice Glenhaven residents were married by a Registrar at Helen’s family home on the morning of 11th April 1953. Coincidentally, the Registrar was the same one as when Nelson was born!

“After the ceremony, we had a dinner at Helen’s home with selected guests and in the afternoon, we went to a hall in Chatswood where two speakers spoke and prayed for us. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee in the hall,” said Nelson.

While Helen rebuffed Nelson’s notes (unless they were delivered with a lolly!), she finally took notice of him when she was aged 16. “I was waiting for a prince on a white charger, whereas he just seemed like `the boy next door’. However, we have made a good team over the years,” she said.

Nelson and Helen had an exciting start to their marriage as Nelson’s father paid for them to enjoy a five-month trip to England, Ireland and the United States. “It was the trip of a lifetime and a wonderful way to start our marriage,” said Nelson.

Prior to retiring to Glenhaven, Nelson owned a packaging business for 33 years and when times were hard, Helen would work in a variety of roles to make ends meet. In between, they had seven children and now have 25 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Asked what she most loved about Nelson, Helen said, “There are so many things I love about him. Once he makes up his mind about something, that’s it. That’s why he never gave up on sending me notes.”

While Nelson and Helen were spoilt with flowers and cards on their special day, the previous Saturday they were thrilled to celebrate with all seven children, who live in Fiji, QLD and NSW.

Readers may remember that their son, Tim Joyce, was the helicopter pilot who was hijacked by Lucy Dudko to help bank robber, John Killick, escape from Silverwater Prison on 25th March 1999. It was the most daring jailbreak Australia has even seen. See John Killick (Australian criminal) - Wikipedia