Helen Ormerod (née Reid) was the sister of Janet Reid. In 1971, Janet cancelled a trip to Leicester for Helen and her husband George's wedding anniversary party. When Helen and George visited Janet in Weatherfield a few days later, they inadvertently blew her cover by telling Stan and Hilda Ogden about Janet's no-show, as she'd used the party as an alibi for a visit to Leeds to follow Alan Howard, with whom she was having an affair.
The Ormerods moved to Oldham in 1975. Two years later, Janet committed suicide by taking an overdose. Helen was contacted by Janet's widower Ken Barlow, who needed her help to determine the ownership of the contents of Janet's building society account, as he'd been separated from Janet for two years and her lover, Vince Denton, was claiming he'd put it there as a tax dodge and now wanted it back. While Helen knew that Janet's own savings amounted to a lot less than the £7,520 in Janet's account and that Denton was probably genuine, she urged Ken to give the money to her and George, claiming that they desperately needed it. Helen pointed out that Denton couldn't risk the tax people finding out about the money so wouldn't make a fuss if he didn't receive it. Despite this, Ken gave the bulk of the money to Denton and left Janet's own savings to Helen.