Childhood sweethearts who were forced apart by her disapproving father finally marry… after 60 years apart

April 1, 2013 | by | 4 Comments

Childhood sweethearts who were forced apart as teenagers by their parents because they were too young have finally tied to knot – in the 70s.

Eileen Lockley and Warner Billington fell in love sixty years ago but her father refused permission for them to wed because of her age.

The couple had to split following their two year romance and later met new partners and were each married to other people for over 50 years.

Eileen and Warner Billington who were forced apart as teenagers by their parents because they were too young but have finally tied to knot - in their 70s

Eileen and Warner Billington who were forced apart as teenagers by their parents because they were too young but have finally tied to knot – in their 70s

But after both were widowed their romance was rekindled following a tearful reunion at a railway station – and they have now married each other in their 70s.

Eileen, 78, of Newquay, Cornwall, said: “We have simply picked up where we left off. It’s like being teenage sweethearts all over again.

“It’s as though we have never been apart. As well as loving each other, we are good companions, just as we were when we first met. In fact, we are just like an old married couple.”

Warner, 79, added: “I thought Eileen’s father was wrong ­ I still do ­ but somehow, we just drifted apart after that. I never saw Eileen again for 58 years.

“We both had very happy marriages but anyone who tells you that they don’t remember their first love is fibbing.

Eileen and Warner Billington aged 16 and 17, on the 'Charabanc' trip to Rhyls, North Wales, in 1950

Eileen and Warner Billington aged 16 and 17, on the ‘Charabanc’ trip to Rhyls, North Wales, in 1950

“Both Eileen and I often wondered about what might have happened if things had worked out differently. But we don’t dwell on it now.”

Eileen, then 16, met Warner, 17, in 1950 when they were near neighbours in Smethwick in the West Midlands.

They shared the same sense of humour, liked the same films and enjoyed outings to the seaside.

But the courtship was no bed of roses as Warner had enlisted in the RAF for a five-year stint and could only see his beloved sweetheart while home on leave.

They kept their love alive by writing to each other every day but when the couple decided to become engaged, Eileen’s widowed dad said that, at 18 and 19, they were too young.

Two years after the tearful split office worker Eileen met a new suitor, Jack Lenton, of Birmingham, and they wed two years later, going on to have a son and a daughter.

The couple lived in Sutton Coldfield and then Great Barr, Birmingham, before moving to Newquay, Cornwall in 1972.

They were married for 54 years until Jack died in 2006 at the age of 73.

Three years after breaking up with Eileen, Warner started going out with a new girlfriend, Gillian Thomas and they married two years later.

They lived in Brandhall, Oldbury, and then in Sutton Coldfield, and had three sons. The couple were married for 53 years until Gillian died in 2010, aged 70.

A mutual friend told Eileen of Warner’s bereavement and she rang him to offer her condolences.

Over the next few months they chatted regularly on the phone ­ reminiscing about happy days gone by.

A year later Warner plucked up the courage to ask Eileen to visit him in Sutton Coldfield, and met her at the town’s railway station ­ “hair all slicked back and roses at the ready”.

Warner moved in with Eileen in Newquay in 2011 with the approval of their families.

He said: “A couple of months later, I asked Eileen to marry me. I said: ‘I don’t want to introduce you as my partner but as my wife’.”

The couple were married at Truro Register Office with Eileen’s sister, Marg, and son John as witnesses. Two of Warner’s sons were among the guests.

Category: News

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m so happy for them. Wish them everlasting love and joy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    how stinking cute!

  3. Anonymous says:

    hope the rest of their years are very happy ones…

  4. Rebecca Smith says:

    OH man. I know this is supposed to be happy, but it’s actually incredibly sad to me.

    Both were married for a very long time and obviously had that capability to begin with. The children, grandchildren they could have had together.

    I don’t know. It mostly proves stupid old bitter people don’t always know everything they think they do. I have noticed that MANy couples married at a young BUT ADULT age stay together for a very long time.

    I frankly don’t believe that anyone you fall in love with after your teen years can have the same type bond (don’t forget 19 is still a teen, I don’t mean 12). I believe there is something purely hormonal, chemical that occurs at a younger age that creates some kind of bond not achievable later on.

    I have read VERY many stories just like this. I hope this encourages some young people who love a ‘proper’ gal or fella and are legal adults to tell their parents how they feel.
    By ‘proper’ I mean if your parents don’t approve because he has a lengthy criminal record as a yob, and she’s 17 with 2 kids – they probably have a valid point.

    Just saying you are too young to be ‘engaged’ at 18 is ridiculous. The marriage would not have taken place for some time anyway & she got married 2 years later! That poor ole fellow did not even begin to date for 3 more years, it must have broken his heart. Off fighting for his country. TSK

Add your comment

Libellous and abusive comments are not allowed. Please read our House Rules

For information about privacy and cookies please read our Privacy Policy