A special smile for a very special Tamworth man

OLD age may have taken over Jim Porter’s body but his mind easily remembers the day he saw his “girl” Nancy.

With his cheeky grin and dancing eyes belying his 89 years of age, he said the time spent with her has “been the best 24 years of my life”.

Spotting her singing hymns sweetly from the pews of the Uniting church, he said he can’t remember what she was wearing that day so many years ago, he could only remember her pretty face.

“I loved her from the very first time I saw her,” he declared with a smile from his bed at Nioka, while he awaits a bed at Mackay House.

Jim had a bunch of freshly picked flowers for Nancy’s Valentine’s Day present when she arrived yesterday – a double celebration day for the couple as it is also Jim’s birthday.

“I love him,” Nancy said.

“Everything about him is special.”

Before meeting, both Nancy and Jim had been married before and were down on love.

Nancy’s daughter Sharyn Jones said her widowed mother had been very sad and thought her romantic life was over before she met Jim that day in church.

The pair courted for several years before they were married in 1990 at the South Tamworth Uniting Church.

Sharyn said Jim was a well-known shearer at farms around the district, with Nancy playing shedhand and wool classer at his side.

“He shore 100 sheep on his 70th birthday,” Sharyn said.

The pair are famous around the wards of Tamworth hospital for their romantic nature.

Acting nurse unit manager Jon Gourlay said Nancy popped in each day to visit her Jim.

“She comes every day on her walker from her ward at the rehab unit, and they just sit there and hold hands and talk, ”Mr Gourlay said.

“Jim really lights up when he sees her, it’s really nice to see.”

The tables have turned since Nancy suffered a stroke on Melbourne Cup day last year and had to enter the hospital, with Sharyn saying Jim missed her company so much he pined away.

“One day he said to me, ‘I’ve lost my dear girl’,” Sharyn said.

A few weeks later Jim entered hospital and it was Nancy who began the daily visits.

Sometimes nurses find her bed empty, but aren’t worried, knowing exactly where she can be found.

At Jim’s bedside with a smile, her hand in his.

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