A GRANDMOTHER-of-five is looking for the man she turned down more than 40 years ago.
Helen Grime, 63, an office worker from Warrington, first met Andy Ross in Flintshire in 1967.
Her name was Helen Williams and she was 17.
The teenager from Newton-le-Willows was spending a week’s holiday with her aunt in Flint and it was there she met and fell for 19-year-old Andy.
Although they lived 40 miles apart, the two continued seeing each other after the holiday, meeting most weekends.
But Andy was at university and although they kept in touch by letter when he went back, Helen said the pair drifted apart.
On one occasion, two years later, after a shopping trip to Warrington, Helen came home to friends telling her Andy had been looking for her – but he was long gone and hadn’t left a note.
That was the last she heard of him until 1971, two weeks before she was due to marry.
Andy knocked at her parents’ front door. He and some friends were going to Italy to live and Andy asked Helen to go with him.
“It was totally out of the blue,” she said, “and of course I had to tell him I couldn’t go, that I was getting married.”
Helen got married as planned and had two daughters with her first husband, but later divorced.
She was married to her second husband, Bob Grime, for 24 years but sadly, Bob died in November, 2012.
It was difficult sorting things out after his death, Helen said, but when she was going through the attic, she came across the letters Andy had written to her from university.
“I’d forgotten I had them,” she said. “Reading them made me laugh. Andy had a good sense of humour and they gave me a few chuckles even on the dark days.”
And she admitted she did sometimes wonder what might have been.
“If circumstances had been different I might have gone to Italy,” she said.
“And it got me thinking. I wondered if he’d changed. I don’t know what happened to him or whether he’s got a family, even if he’s still alive.”
Her parents’ home was demolished in 1979 and Helen said she was aware that even if Andy had tried to contact her over the years, he wouldn’t have been able to find her.
So with a suggestion from her aunt’s family that he might have returned to live in Wrexham, Helen said she decided to try to contact him.
She placed an advert in today’s Leader, making reference to a full-size cardboard cut-out – an advertising board – of a native North American Indian given to her by a painter and decorator. Helen had taken it by train to Flint to give to Andy.
“He was very artistic and I’d told him about it and then the man let me have it. I had to take it. Luckily it folded in half.”
Helen said she was not pinning her hopes on meeting Andy but said she refused to just sit in her chair and mope following the death of her husband.
“Obviously if Andy’s married, I don’t want to intrude,” she said, “but it’s just you wonder how people are.
“If nothing comes of it, I won’t be heartbroken. But if something did come of it, it would be nice.
“It might just be a chat and a catch up. He might not be interested at all,” she said.
“But I’d kick myself if I didn’t try.”