69-year-old couple to marry this week after a whirlwind romance SIXTY years after they first met in the school playground
12:43 GMT, 26 September 2012
A devoted man is finally marrying his childhood sweetheart, 60 years after he first 'bottled' asking her out in the primary school playground.
Romantic Robert Hale met Carole Fox on the first day of primary school in Stourbridge in 1947 when they were both aged four.
The couple, now aged 69, were in the same year at school and were friends but unbeknown to Carole, Robert carried a flame for her but never plucked up the courage to ask her out.
Robert Hale and Carole Fox are getting married this week just five months after meeting again at a school reunion
They lost touch when they left
secondary school aged 15 and both went on to get married to other people
and Carole had two children and two grandchildren.
Despite living 30 miles apart they
never saw each other again until they met at a school reunion two years
ago and got chatting over coffee.
Robert told Carole his wife of 21
years Diane had died in 2008 and she told him her partner Peter West,
who she had been with for three-and-a-half years after divorcing her
first husband, passed away in 2010.
He asked her for her phone number but
was too scared to call and it was a further 18 months until he finally
asked her out when they met again in April this year.
And after a whirlwind summer romance Robert finally popped the question and the couple are getting married this Friday.
These pictures of the couple were taken on the same day in 1957, the pair were friends throughout their time at school but went their separate ways when they left aged 15
Retired civil servant Robert, from Halesowen in the West Midlands said: 'It feels fantastic
'Meeting each other again came at the
right time because we were both single – so we went out and it led to us
becoming joined at the hip – we have been inseparable since.
'We realised there was an affinity between us.
'We are getting married because we
are old fashioned and it is a commitment which means you have got to make
it work and can’t walk away.
'You have to grab it while you can because you don’t know how long it will last.
'The girls in our school were quite
pretty, and even back then I thought she was gorgeous, but we were never
boyfriend and girlfriend back then.
'In truth I admired her across the playground when we were about ten years old but bottled it when I went to ask her on a date.
'I don’t know what she would have said if I had but better late than never.'
Carole Fox pictured with the Homer Hill Secondary Modern School 1957/58 netball team
Robert Hale pictured with the Homer Hill Secondary Modern School 1957/58 football team
The couple both attended Colley Lane
Primary School, Halesowen, in the 1940s before leaving at 11 and going
onto to Homer Hill Secondary Modern in the town until they left aged 15.
Five months ago they attended a reunion at their primary school and days later went on their first date together.
Robert said: 'Our first date told me
it was something special. We went into this little pub that I had not
been into for 40 years.
'I knew the cup final was going to be
on that evening, but as we chatted I just completely forgot about it, I
was just too engrossed in chatting to her.'
Carole, a retired party planner for a
fashion company in Malvern, Worcs., said: 'Before our latest reunion
both our partners had unfortunately passed away.
The couple, whose previous partners have both passed away, describe themselves as being joined at the hip
'When we got chatting at the do,
Robert asked me for my number and said he would call me but never did
because a friend warned him I was vulnerable.
'I was really sad and really wanted
him to call but then we met again at the reunion this year and the spark
was there instantly.
'He took me out one afternoon and we found ourselves sitting for seven hours in the pub after lunch.
'I knew it must have been something
to him as well because he is a big football fan and gave up watching the
cup final to spend the time with me.
'After going out with Robert a couple of times I knew there was something there.
'At school we were just friends – but
we were both good at sport. He tells me now that he carried a flame for
me back then but I never realised. We have a shared history and since then we’ve just been joined at the hip.'
The couple will tie the knot at Two
Gates Ragged Chapel in Cradley, two miles away from the
school where they first met.
Carole’s two daughters, Andrea and
Janine, in their 40s, and her two granddaughters 17-year-old Georgina
and 14-year-old Charlotte will be part of the wedding, and the couple are honeymooning in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset in the same hotel where they went on their first weekend away together.