Their eyes met across a crowded factory floor.
Now, more than 70 years later, sweethearts James Fearns, 94 and his wife Elizabeth, 90, are celebrating their platinum wedding, a milestone which few live to see.
And the couple have revealed their happiness is down to a humble home made sandwich shared one lunchtime when they worked at the Dick, Kerr factory in Preston, where James was a toolmaker and Elizabeth was a supervisor.
Elizabeth, 90, said: “He always used to appear around lunchtime when I was eating my sandwiches. One day I shared one of the sandwiches my mother had made with him.
“After that we used to have banter. I was a country girl and life became more exciting than it had been before I met Jim.
“We have had storms but we have weathered them and we are happy to still be together.”
The couple, of Ansdell Grove, Ashton, Preston, are set to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary tomorrow with their relatives and friends at a party at the Corporation Arms in Longridge.
James, who is one of the Evening Post’s longest readers, having bought the paper for 80 years, said: “It is a real achievement to reach our platinum wedding anniversary.
“We have had our ups and down but being completely truthful we have had a wonderful marriage.
“I was brought up Roman Catholic and Elizabeth was Church of England but we never fell out at all about religion.
“We were very active until about 18 months ago and attended a social club in Ashton but I had a hip replacement which has slowed me down and knocked me back a bit.
James is a retired senior engineer for BAC where he worked for 44 years, and he was awarded the BEN medal for services to the aircraft industry, two years before he retired.
James grew up with three brothers in Deepdale, while Elizabeth grew up in Clifton with two sisters and three brothers.
They were married at Lund Church in Clifton, near Preston, on December 29, 1943, while Preston was in the throes of the Second World War.
James had to stay behind while friends went to fight, because he was in a reserved profession.
The couple had one son, James junior, who was a senior civil engineer for the Hong Kong government, but sadly he passed away six years ago.
James said: “He went to Ribbleton Hall High school then Salford University and was well known in Preston’s amateur football scene. He was living in a £7,000-a-month apartment in Hong Kong and we went over to see him four times.
“They say time’s a healer but it isn’t, we still miss him.”