A couple who met at a borough bus stop before the outbreak of World War Two are this week celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary.
Jack and Brenda Ashton are still soulmates with the 92-year-old husband making sure he visits his wife, 93, in the nursing home where she now resides every day.
The couple met while waiting for a bus in Tyldesley in 1939 and married at St George’s Church, Mosley Common in 1945.
Now, 72 years later, they are still just as devoted to each other as the day they were wed, as they celebrate their anniversary at Hollins Bank care home on Lytham Road, Blackpool, where Brenda lives.
Jack, who still lives independently at his South Shore home, said: “Brenda was a lovely girl and always wore very short skirts! She still is lovely. Back in those days we didn’t have any televisions and very few people had radio, so on a night we would go on a ‘monkey run’ looking for girls to walk home. It was very common in Manchester. I used to go on the monkey run when I met Brenda.”
Jack’s first date with the 18-year-old beauty, who worked building aircraft parts during the war, came completely by chance after his friend arranged a date with her.
Brenda said: “I had a date with his mate and his mate didn’t turn up, but Jack did.”
Jack added: “He chickened out I think. We went for a ride on our bikes and we’ve been together ever since. If he had gone instead of me there could have been a different couple here today.”
The pair moved to Edinburgh in the 1950s where Jack, who had worked as a farmer since he was 10-years-old, set up his own lime-spreading business.
They moved to Culcheth in after eight years in Scotland, and later to Kearsley in 1972.
They have two daughters, Sandra, 69, and Sheila, 62, a granddaughter, Yvonne, and a grandson, Jack. They moved to Blackpool five years ago to be near to their younger daughter.
Contemplating shifting cultural norms and the changing attitude towards marriage, Jack said: “Times are different now. People don’t believe in marriage until they’ve lived with someone for 20 years, and then they’re married a year and then they’re divorced. I don’t understand it. We have always got on and we’re very happy together.”
Jack worked full-time as Brenda’s carer until January when he finally had to concede that he was no longer able to meet his wife’s needs.
He said: “I do miss her when I’m at home. I come and spend six hours with her every day, but some days she doesn’t even remember I’ve been. She can remember things that happened years ago, but she can’t remember what happened yesterday. It’s one of those things.”