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A very long engagement – couple marry, 70 years after first planning to marry

A couple in their 90s have married after breaking off their engagement following the Second World War.

In 1940, a young evacuee called Roy Vickerman was evacuated from London and sent to school in Stock-on-Trent. As he stood before his new classmates, his eyes fell on Nora Jackson, and Roy was instantly smitten.

But it would be four years before Roy would finally pluck up the courage to ask out the “pretty girl wearing a lovely yellow dress with pink roses”. Their romance went from strength to strength, with Roy going down on one knee just seven days before he was to take part in the D-Day Normandy Landings.

But when Roy returned from war, he was changed. While serving with the Black Watch and the Highland Light Infantry, he was shot by a Nazi sniper. The bullet shattered a bone in his lower leg, requiring reconstructive surgery. And when Roy returned to England, he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and wanted to be alone. “I couldn’t handle it. I was suffering depression from the horrors I’d seen and what I’d been through,” he told the Huffington Post.

“Nora used to come and see me in the hospital and stayed with me as long as she could, but in the end I wanted to be on my own and she gave me the ring back.”

Though Roy went on to marry and have a family, he never forgot his wartime sweetheart, and, for seven decades, remained unaware that she was living just two miles down the road, shopping at the same shops, walking the same streets and even sharing the same chiropodist.

With the help of a local radio station, Roy was able to track down his former flame. His intention was to apologise for breaking her heart. But when he discovered that, like his own partner, Nora’s husband has passed away, the couple were able to pick up where they left off in the 1940s.

“I didn’t know if she was still married and I didn’t want to upset anything. I thought about it for a week. I got into a taxi with a big bunch of flowers and I told the driver to wait for me. I said I would only be a couple of minutes. 

"She had no idea I was coming round. When I rang the doorbell I saw Nora through the curtains. She came to the door and said ‘Oh, Roy’. She put her arms around me and gave me a kiss and said ‘Hold me’. That moment was fantastic. Four hours later I had to tell the taxi driver I was staying!”

Nora admits that she too had never forgotten her first love, and still has to pinch herself that he returned to her life so suddenly: “It’s so clear in my mind. I heard the bell and I opened the curtain a little bit. I was so taken aback. I knew him straight away but I never thought I would see him again. He had changed a lot but I could still recognise him. 

"We put our arms around one another and we went into the living room and sat and talked for hours. It was a shock to see him because it had been such a long time but it was lovely. It was just like old times. I did think about him over the years, in fact I dreamed about him a few times,” says Nora. 

On Roy’s 90th birthday, he presented Nora with the ring he’d given her 72 years earlier. “I didn’t go down on one knee because I wouldn’t get up again, but we had the first dance.”  

 

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Author: Rebecca

Rebecca lives in London with her husband, daughter and dachshund. She hopes her dating blogs for Flame Introductions will inspire you to seek out the best London and UK locations for brilliant dates, and discover some tips along the way to help you find your perfect partner.