Married life could hardly have had a more dramatic start for Robert and Margaret Warner.
By the time the couple tied the knot at St Michael’s Church in Westoe Road, South Shields, they had already had to cancel their big day twice.
When Margaret did eventually walk down the aisle, she did it with 42 stitches in her back.
Now, Robert, 73, and Margaret, 71, of Kingsway, South Shields, have celebrated 50 years of marriage with a look back to their dramatic early days together.
They first cancelled their wedding when Robert, from Tottenham in London, had to go to sea in his job as a merchant seaman.
The second big day was scuppered when Margaret was rushed into hospital with a collapsed lung.
I went in to digs in Osborne Avenue and Margaret lived next door. Not many people had televisions in those days so I went next door to watch Tottenham in a football match on the television and Margaret was thereRobert Warner
Surgeons had to open up her chest to fix the problem and then she needed 42 stitches in her back.
The first thing she told doctors was that she was planning to marry two weeks later.
The excellent medical staff made sure she kept her appointment and married life began. Fifty years on, the pair marked their golden wedding with a meal, surrounded by family which includes three children, nine grandchildren and one great- grandchild.
During their working lives, Robert moved on from the Merchant Navy to become a postmaster.
His wife, who had worked as a cost clerk at a South Shields shipyard, helped Robert to run the business.
Robert said: “We worked together day in and day out for 31 years and we lived above the shop. There must have been something which kept us together.”
The couple first moved when Londoner Robert moved to the North East to go to college.
“I went in to digs in Osborne Avenue and Margaret lived next door,” said Robert.
“Not many people had televisions in those days so I went next door to watch Tottenham in a football match on the television and Margaret was there.”
After a four-year courtship, and a couple of postponements on the way to wedding bells, they finally tied the knot.
And Robert had a piece of advice for other couples hoping for a long and happy marriage.
“Keep laughing all the time,” he said.