Nolan and Betty Pretorius, both 96, celebrate 72 years of love by adding a lock to the Intiem Love Bridge at Huckleberry's Magnolia Dell. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Nolan and Betty Pretorius, both 96, celebrate 72 years of love by adding a lock to the Intiem Love Bridge at Huckleberry's Magnolia Dell. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Seven decades of love locked in at Intiem Love Bridge

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Jan 11, 2020

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Pretoria - You're never too old for love as local couple Nolan and Betty Pretorius, who are in their 90s, showed this week when they locked in their love on the Love Bridge at Magnolia Dell.

The couple, accompanied by close family, added their engraved lock to those on the Intiem Love Bridge as they celebrated 72 years together this week.

Those who witnessed the touching moment believe their gold and silver lock will, without doubt, represent the longest love relationship among the hundreds that have been added to the bridge over the years.

The couple's union has been something very special to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who've grown to idolise their long-lasting relationship which started when they were just 12-year-olds, living two doors apart and attending the same primary school and Sunday school.

They became engaged in 1947 when Nolan returned from serving in World War II and married the following year.

Nolan and Betty Pretorius, both 96, celebrate 72 years of love by adding a lock to the Intiem Love Bridge at Huckleberry's Magnolia Dell. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Nolan served with the Allies in Italy, North Africa and Malta, and he never stopped exchanging letters with Betty. He later became a lecturer, and eventually, a bank manager. They have two sons and a daughter, who have blessed them with five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Asked how the lock came about, Nolan and Betty said they thought it was something special to do and it would inspire their family and other people who love.

They reminisced about their life, with Betty having a nostalgic moment remembering Nolan's very first car, a 1947 DKW convertible.

Teasing him, she said: “The roof used to be so loose that when I was riding with him, I would have to hold it every time we hit the bumps so that it didn't come off.”

Nolan and Betty Pretorius, both 96, celebrate 72 years of love by adding a lock to the Intiem Love Bridge at Huckleberry's Magnolia Dell. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

What stuns most people about Nolan and Betty is their sharp memory. 

Their daughter-in-law, Laura Pretorius, said: “To date, Oupa still reads books without glasses when he is at their home in Kronendal retirement village. That's something I can't even do.”

Nolan said they had led good lives and now enjoyed the convenience of frail care and their meals provided for them. The retirement home also meant they could socialise with other elderly folks.

“When you're my age, you're blessed. We had a good life. If we could still do everything by ourselves, we would still be living in our home,”

If there is one thing Betty, misses is cooking in her own kitchen - and her children confirm she was a great cook.

Pretoria News

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