Whether it’s winning his heart by pulling funny faces, helping carry the mental load of 46 years of policing or, most recently, supporting him as he fights cancer, Graham Bell’s wife Joyce has been a rock throughout the retired detective inspector’s life.
“Fifty-three years we’ve been married!” the former Police Ten 7 host reflects during a catch-up with the Weekly. “We’re still very much in love.”
A year ago, the two were planning an overseas adventure to Argentina, Uruguay and the UK, before a cruise in Portugal and Barcelona, but the Covid pandemic brought all that to a halt. They’ve instead developed a love for local travel, including a trip around the South Island.
Graham, 74, filled us in on marriage, his “bad-boy” past, being a grandfather and why he’s staying positive amid a major health setback.
What’s your drink of choice?
English Breakfast or what’s colloquially referred to as “gumboot”. Joyce is a coffee drinker by day and she likes her Earl Grey in the evenings.
How did you find spending 24/7 together during lockdown?
We did surprisingly well! When you’re in that situation, you concentrate on getting on with one another. It brought us closer. We did lots of walks at the beach, which we loved.
Do you remember the first time you saw Joyce?
We were travelling from Frankton to Mount Maunganui for the annual Frankton Railway employee picnic. She was sitting on the train and very childishly, we started pulling faces at one another. She was around 14 and I was 17. We got married when Joyce was 17 and I was 21.
So young! I guess that wasn’t unusual back then…
Yes, in those days it was more common for people to get married young.
What are the lessons in being married that long?
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