VETERAN soldier Rick Adamson turned one of the most traumatic experiences of his life into one that would define it.
Stationed in Dortmund, Germany, with Heavy Air Defence in 1963, Gunner Adamson was directing a convoy at a road block when disaster struck.
A truck lost control and smashed into Mr Adamson, breaking one leg in three places and smashing his other knee cap clean off.
He spent 12 weeks convalescing in hospital and, after being given an address by a friend, began writing to a new pen pal — Eileen from Blackrod.
The pair’s long-distance friendship flourished and, just one year on, they wed at St Katherine’s Church in Blackrod on March 28, 1964.
Mr and Mrs Adamson, aged 79 and 76 respectively, are now set to celebrate their golden wedding at Rivington Barn on Friday night, with their two children, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
The pair finally met when Mr Adamson, originally from Rochdale, was given army leave.
Mrs Adamson said: “He just turned up on the doorstep out of the blue when I was cleaning upstairs in all my scruffs.
“My mum answered the door and shouted that there was somebody to see me and I was mortified when I saw who it was.”
A proposal from Mr Adamson was not long in coming and his wife to be even made her own wedding dress, which she then recycled to make covers for her children’s prams.
They had a son and daughter, Raymond and Michelle, and now have a large family to care for, including the latest additions of great-grandchildren Carl, aged three, and one-year-old Chantelle.
Recalling his wedding day, Mr Adamson said: “It was a smashing day actually, we had all the family out.”
Mrs Adamson added: “The day we were married there was snow on the ground and it was nearly April!
“It was lovely though and we had a great reception at the Red Lion afterwards.
“We were married on the Saturday and then back out to an army base in Germany on the Monday so no time for a honeymoon.”
The couple now live in Platt Hill Avenue, Deane, after they moved from Blackrod to be closer to the town centre 10 years ago.
Still a staunch military man despite being forced to leave the forces in 1968 after nine years service, Mr Adamson is now secretary of the South Lancashire Veterans’ Association.
On the secrets of a long and happy marriage, he said: “Shared interests and an ability to cope with each other.
“We have had very few arguments over the years and, at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, what is the point of upsetting your other half?”