The Allens have a lot in common

By Amelia Wade

Neville and Zelma Allen (left) and Joyce and Comer Allen treasure their long and unusual friendship. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Neville and Zelma Allen (left) and Joyce and Comer Allen treasure their long and unusual friendship. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Couples celebrating their 65th wedding anniversaries this week share more than the same surname

They are not related but all share the same surname, got married on the same day at almost the same time and met while they had their honeymoon at the same spot.

What's more, 65 years on, not only are the two couples still together, they're all still best friends.

"When you get there, you think, 'Well funny that.' We're really very lucky to be here, you can't quite believe it," Joyce Allen said.

Joyce, 90, and her husband Comer Allen, 95, met at a welcoming-home party after World War II for her cousin, who had been taken prisoner. Comer was an engineer in the army and was stationed in Egypt.

Neville Allen, 89, also happened to be an engineer during the war, but served with the air force in the Pacific. He met his wife, Zelma, 90, at church.

Each couple fell in love separately but came together during a chance meeting on their honeymoons.

Joyce and Comer got married at 2pm on October 11, 1947, in Timaru; Zelma and Neville tied the knot at 2.30pm on the same day in Royal Oak, Auckland.

Both decided to take their post-nuptials holiday at Franz-Josef Glacier - and it was there on the ice that 65 years of friendship began.

"We had a good laugh there when we worked out all the things we had in common," Zelma said. "And since then we've been the firmest of friends."

A few weeks after their chance meeting, Joyce and Comer moved to Auckland. Zelma was the only person Joyce knew in the big city.

"We met at the post shop because that was the only place I knew," Joyce laughed.

Over the 65 years the couples have been through their ups and downs together - children, grandchildren, illness and an eventful trip to Piha when their car broke down while going up a hill.

And both of the couple's daughters work in aged healthcare.

This week - on their 65th wedding anniversaries - the four had a lunch of shaved beef and egg salad to celebrate their milestone.

They even had a cake made especially for the occasion.

"You should see it, it's so beautiful," Zelma said before the masterpiece arrived.

The time the four get to spend together in one room is limited these days. Zelma and Neville live in Metlifecare Highlands, but Neville spends most of his time in hospital after being crippled by "three or four strokes" and Parkinson's disease.

And Joyce and Comer live in Royal Oak and neither couple can drive anymore.

But they stay in touch by phone and make the most of the few moments they get face-to-face.

But over the years, despite the world changing around them, some things never change.

"Still tastes the same," said Comer after planting a kiss on Joyce's lips - an act of love met by laughter from all four.

- NZ Herald

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