Couple’s long love story continues after 70 years

A couple who met when they were just 12 years old are still as devoted to each other 70 years later.

Monday, 19th August 2019, 10:18 am
Jean and Brian

Staff at Worthington Lake care home in Standish, where Brian and Jean O’Brien now live, say they are often found “kissing and cuddling”.

Brian first set eyes on his future wife when they were pupils at Walkden High School in Salford in 1947.

They immediately struck up a friendship, which started when Jean played netball with her classmates in the girls’ side of the school.

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Jean at the Westlife concert

She would drop the ball and let it roll towards Brian, who would run to pick it up and pass it back to Jean.

They saw each other every day during their school years and had the same circles of friends.

Jean said: “I used to walk to school every day down Cow Lane and see Brian on the way. He went into the boys’ end as I walked into the girls’ side of the school.”

The pair grew closer and their love for each other developed as they became inseparable.

After leaving school, Brian joined the army and was based in Trieste, near Venice.

He wrote to Jean, who was working in a local mill.

When Brian eventually left the army, he went home and proposed to his childhood sweetheart Jean.

The couple tied the knot on July 21, 1956 at St John’s Church in their home town of Walkden, in a double wedding with Brian’s sister Freda and her husband Bill.

The couple have spent many happy years together and went on to have two children, Gary and Carole.

Now aged 84, Jean and Brian have both been diagnosed with dementia.

They have moved into Worthington Lake care home, which opened its doors in March as a purpose-built hub for people with the condition.

The couple are still able to do everything they did in their own home.

Brian has enjoyed gardening, while Jean has been on several adventures already - including going to the top of Mount Snowdon with her friends and going to see her favourite band Westlife in concert.

Their son Gary said: “I’m so glad my mum and dad are not only still able to be together, but are able to maintain the lifestyle they have while living with dementia.

“It just shows with the right care and in the right environment you can still live a normal life with the condition.”

Worthington Lake’s manager Ann Sheward said: “It’s a pleasure to have Brian and Jean as part of our family here at Worthington Lake.

“You will often find them kissing and cuddling, they are both very settled and happy here. They quickly became a big part of the home when they moved in.”