Thomas and Irene Howard are living proof that love at first sight isn’t just for romantic novels.
The couple, who met more than eight decades ago, celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary this week.
They fell in love as children and were married in 1945, after Thomas promised Irene they would be together forever.
“You would never believe it”, said Thomas, 93, of Longton, looking back fondly at his life with his wife.
“We were courting when she was seven, we fell in love with each other.
“I come from Southport and she comes from Preston, and my grandmother lived four doors away in Skeffington Road.
We were courting when she was seven, we fell in love with each other.Thomas Howard
“We were best friends, even more than that.
“She kept coming to Southport to see me with her mother.
“I’ve still got a birthday card from when she was seven. I sent it to her and it said ‘Happy birthday, love Thomas’.
Thomas was called up during the war, and spent five years in the forces. He was based in Carlisle and looked after returning troops. He said: “One day I went to see my grandmother and she said, ‘You better go and see your young lady – she’s blind.’
“She worked in the cotton industry and it was something that had affected her.
“I went to see her, she couldn’t see me, but I had a chat with her and I said ‘From now on, we are together forever’.
“In 1945 at St Matthew’s Church, Preston, we were married.”
Thomas said he had been in love with Irene, now 91, “right from the beginning”.
He said: “As a child, in those days, I used to shout her brother, Frank, and her mother came out and said ‘It’s not Frank you want, it’s our Irene’.”
Irene’s sight came back after several months, and Thomas said: “When I saw her, I just said ‘From now on I’m going to write to your mother and she will read the letter out to you and you are going to be my girlfriend from now on’. And she was, and she still is.”
Thomas revealed the secret to their happiness.
He said: “I think it’s just that we might fall out but we still love each other.
“We thought the world of each other all the way through, she stood by me and I stood by her.”