When Nellie Simon turned 70 on Jan 26, time, distance and costs were irrelevant to family and friends who returned to her hometown in Taiping to celebrate her birthday with her.
A grand birthday party was hosted by her family at the Flemington Hotel in Taiping.
The matriarch of the Simon clan, her four younger siblings, Nelson, Nancy, Lily and Jenny and their respective families returned home to be with their sister.
Lily, her husband and Jenny flew home from England where they reside while Nelson and Nancy came from Kuala Lumpur.
Overseas friends from the shores of France and Australia were there too for the event, not to mention family and friends from all over Malaysia and South-East Asia.
More than 170 people attended the dinner party which saw family members and friends letting their hair down and dancing the night away.
The young and the old all had a good time.
It was the perfect time for family members to catch up and reminisce over old times.
At 17 years of age, Nellie lost her mother and single-handedly raised her four siblings, living in Wat Bodhiyaram in Assam Kumbang, Taiping.
This was thanks to the generosity and charity of the Buddhist monks during that time.
Jenny, the youngest, had only turned two.
Their father had left the teenager to fend for herself and her siblings.
“My beloved sister Nellie is both a mother and father to me,” said Jenny, who is now a successful barrister based in Birmingham, England.
Jenny said Nellie has many roles.
“She is a sister, a mother, a wife, an aunt, a grand-aunt to her family and a true friend to so many people in Taiping. We are so grateful to her for all that she has done for us.
“She is a selfless individual who thinks of herself last. We love her very dearly and would not have missed her 70th birthday for the world,” Jenny added.
Nellie has two children, Sheila and Christopher, and two grand-daughters Jade and Jasmine Bast.
She has three nephews and five nieces, and also a grand-niece Milla and recently born grand-nephew Maximilian Boyd.
It was a two-day celebration in Taiping, starting with a blessing ceremony and offerings to the monks at Wat Bodhiyaram, a dinner reception and a traditional Chinese tea ceremony was also held for younger family members to pay their respects to Nellie.
Following the festivities in Taiping, her brother-in-law, Christopher Boyd organised a two-day trip to Ipoh for the entire entourage of family and friends to savour its sights and culinary delights, culminating in a spectacular luxurious limestone cave dining experience at The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat.