Couple finally get married 60 years after parents stopped them from tying the knot
Two people who were lovebirds as teenagers have finally tied the knot, six decades after their parents called off their engagement.
Len Albrighton (79) and Jeanette Steer (78), say that despite enduring a difficult journey, they are happier now than ever.
Len was 19 years old and Jeanette was 18 when they first met in 1963.
They met while they were trainee nurses at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport on the Isle of Wight UK, and said they fell in love at first sight.
Within months of their meeting, Len asked her to marry him and Jeanette accepted his proposal.
He decided to move to Australia to purchase a piece of land and to build a home for his wife once they got married.
Jeanette was however three years too young to consent to the marriage at that time.
Her mum and dad stopped their wedding and Len received a heartbreaking letter from her calling off the engagement while he was living far away.
In the coming 50 years, Len married a woman in Australia, had three children, divorced, and moved to Stevenage where he worked as a district nurse.
Jeanette, meanwhile, stayed on the Isle of Wight to also become a nurse, then got married to a naval officer and had two kids.
She was retired and still with her husband when Len decided to track down his old flame by traveling to Newport and looking up her address using the electoral roll in the local library.
He said: ‘I was daunted, not knowing what her reaction would be or if I would even see her.
‘I went on the off chance. It was not an easy place to find but I did.
‘I just hoped she was ok – I didn’t expect anything else.’
Len went to her garden fence and looked into her house. Jeanette – not recognizing him as 52 years older and sporting a beard asked who he was.
‘I nearly died when I realized it was him standing by my garden fence.
‘I was glad he looked me up. I thought of him a lot at the time.’
After talking to him, she sent her former flame away and told her husband when she was asked that he was a stranger asking for directions.
Two years later, Jeanette’s husband died from cancer, and she reached back out to Len using an address he’d included on a Christmas card he sent to her the year before.
In 2018, she agreed to move up to Stevenage to live with him, and last year Len once again got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.
Their wedding took place on February 11, 2023 with new matching rings and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren bearing witness.
Jeanette said: ‘Married life is fantastic – it couldn’t be better.
‘It’s nice to have someone who treats me with respect. I like doing everything and anything with Len.’
Her new husband said: ‘We fell in love again.
‘We read poems to each other and exchanged rings – I got emotional when reading mine.
‘I was overwhelmed with my love for her.’