Tinder schminder.

A pair of Hamilton seniors have pieced together rather than swiped their way to love over lockdown after bonding over a shared interest in jigsaw puzzles.

Robin Gillett, who is in his late 80s, met Joan Nicholls, who is in her early 90s, after moving to Bupa St Andrews Care Home this year.

As Kiwis went into a nationwide lockdown in March, the couple found themselves falling in love - one jigsaw piece at a time.

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Gillett said it started when he noticed Nicholls having trouble with a puzzle.

"I went over to give her a hand, because I've always enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles. Then the next time we sat down to do a jigsaw puzzle, she came over to sort the outside pieces for me and I sorted out the inside pieces of colour.

"Then together we'd put the outside round and then we'd get stuck into the rest of the pieces and put them all together. It was real teamwork."

Joan Nicholls and Robin Gillett struck up a friendship during lockdown and spent most of their days doing jigsaw puzzles together. Last month, Gillett popped the question. Photo / Supplied
Joan Nicholls and Robin Gillett struck up a friendship during lockdown and spent most of their days doing jigsaw puzzles together. Last month, Gillett popped the question. Photo / Supplied

They've since completed dozens of puzzles, with Nicholls impressed by how clever Gillett is.

"He can do a puzzle in just two days."

She realised their friendship had become something more when Gillett started holding her hand as they sat together.

"He likes holding hands for some reason and I've never had anyone hold my hand like that."

The former builder began talking about marriage, but Nicholls, who comes from a farming background, was no easy catch.

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"He'd talked about it, and I just kept putting you off, didn't I?"

Gillett wasn't dissuaded - "everything felt right", he said.

Soon he was picking out an engagement ring while on a shopping trip to Chartwell Shopping Centre with his youngest daughter.

His family knew something was going on, because "I was so very happy", Gillett said.

Robin Gillett proposing to Joan Nicholls in front of residents and staff at Bupa St Andrews Care Home in Hamilton on August 28. Photo / Supplied
Robin Gillett proposing to Joan Nicholls in front of residents and staff at Bupa St Andrews Care Home in Hamilton on August 28. Photo / Supplied

Still, the moment he proposed on August 28 - dropping one knee on to a purple velvet cushion while surrounded by the other residents and staff - he was "shaking like a leaf".

He can't remember what he said. But he can remember the answer - yes.

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The couple, both of whom have been married before and have children, then shared the news with their delighted families.

"I don't think there was anyone that wasn't happy for us," Nicholls said.

Wedding plans have yet to be made, with the couple happy to "settle down and enjoy each other's company" for now, Gillett said.

"When the time is right, we'll do something."

They didn't go looking for love, newly-engaged couple Robin Gillett and Joan Nicholls said. It was just
They didn't go looking for love, newly-engaged couple Robin Gillett and Joan Nicholls said. It was just "meant to be". Photo / Supplied

Neither had expected to find love at this stage of their lives.

"It just happened, as if it was meant to be," Nicholls said.

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"We weren't looking for it. It just grew naturally. Even if you're older, you don't lose those feelings."

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