Former ship officer living in Canada searches for long-lost NZ friend

Credit: Original article can be found here

Former ship radio officer radio Toney Charon, now living in Canada, hoped to reconnect with a friend, Helen, he met in New Plymouth in 1967.

SUPPLIED

Former ship radio officer radio Toney Charon, now living in Canada, hoped to reconnect with a friend, Helen, he met in New Plymouth in 1967.

It has been more than 50 years but Toney​ Charon​ still thinks about the woman who captured his heart in Taranaki.

The former ship radio officer is hoping to find a long-lost friend named Helen, whom he met during regular visits to Port Taranaki during the late 1960s.

The pair met at a New Plymouth bookshop, Coles, on Charon’s first visit to New Plymouth in 1967.

Charon invited Helen to visit the ship, and they shared a meal of risotto.

“I was the radio officer on the bulk carrier MV Cape de Lemos​ and we traded coal between Melbourne and Japan and brought phosphate from Nauru to New Plymouth,” Charon said, by phone from his home in Nova Scotia.

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Former ship radio officer Toney Charon, now living in Canada, is hoping to find Helen, a New Plymouth woman he met in 1967.

SUPPLIED

Former ship radio officer Toney Charon, now living in Canada, is hoping to find Helen, a New Plymouth woman he met in 1967.

The pair continued to meet, up to 12 times while the ship berthed at Port Taranaki during the year, having supper on board, and visiting Helen’s horse.

“I found her to be a very smart girl, she liked horses and nature, and would show me landmarks around New Plymouth.

“I introduced her to Greek food, and would show her around the ship.”

But as the friendship began to flourish, the shipping schedule was altered and the bulk carrier was diverted to Perth before returning to Britain.

Charon spent 25 years at sea, before working as an air traffic controller in Canada, but never returned to New Plymouth and the friendship faded.

Charon didn't know Helen's last name but said, "she was one of the nicest persons I ever met in New Zealand."

SUPPLIED

Charon didn’t know Helen’s last name but said, “she was one of the nicest persons I ever met in New Zealand.”

He neglected to ask Helen for her family name or mailing address, so lost contact with her.

“She was about 5’6″ (1.68m), had light brown hair, drove a Morris car, and possibly of Irish or English background,” he said.

“She was one of the nicest persons I ever met in New Zealand, and over life things get parked away for one reason or another.

“Now and then my memories of her and our time together come flashing back and start tugging at my heartstrings.

“Sometimes I can’t get rid of it and I don’t know how to deal with it, so I’m trying to find her again.”

After unsuccessful attempts to reconnect by phone books and social media Charon placed a classified ad in the Taranaki Daily News for Helen to contact him.

“It sticks in my mind what happened to her, if she got married, had a family and where she may be now.”

Stuff