Couple celebrate golden wedding - despite groom's collapse on big day
IT was third time lucky when a groom collapsed at his wedding as his future bride walked up the aisle.
That was 50 years ago, and since then Alan and Rita Fletcher of Bramdean Avenue, Harwood, have settled into a less exciting but more than busy lifestyle, with their family which includes eight grandchildren.
Rita said: “I was walking up the aisle at St Augustine's Church, Tonge Moor, with my father Norman, but could not see my future husband Alan, who had fainted in the bench in all the excitement."
Alan said: “I just blacked out and when I came to, somebody got me to my feet but then I went down again.
“However, in the end it was third time lucky.”
Rita, aged 72, who originally lived on Waterloo Street, explained: “For the remainder of the service I had my knee at his back in case he keeled over a third time.
“The vicar who performed the ceremony said he had seen crying brides and grooms but never a collapsing groom before!”
Alan, aged 72, who originally lived in John Brown Street, in Bolton, first clapped eyes on his future bride Rita Cryer, aged 15, at Castle Hill School, where they danced together in preparation for the leavers ball as Mr and Mrs Rabbit.
And it led to a union which endures more than 50 years later as Alan explained: “Although we were not teamed up together at the leavers ball, we subsequently got back together for good when we were 19.” After leaving school Alan worked as a domestic repair and salesman before setting up his own business, while Rita worked, initially as a machinist and latterly at a care home, in between raising their five children.
The couple are planning a holiday for all of their family on Anglesey to celebrate the occasion. Rita added: "We are also very fortunate that we are a very close family and not a lot of people can say that.
"I suppose the reason why our marriage has endured so long is because we are both very compatible, Alan likes his sport and Bolton Wanderers, as I do, and I also like my sewing and watching old romantic films. We are a bit like Darby and Joan."
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