It must be love! Childhood sweethearts separated in 1948 reunited over 60 YEARS LATER (and they're still as besotted as ever)
Brenda Loy, 82, and Fred Wilcock, 81, grew up in South Yorkshire
The pair were best friends from the age of four to 17Separated when Fred left to do military service in 1948Chance meeting brought them back together
20:53 GMT, 22 November 2012
A pair of childhood sweethearts who were inseparable during their younger years have revealed how fate brought them back together after more than 60 years apart.
Brenda Loy, 82, and Fred Wilcock, 81, were best friends growing up in the village of Hoyland in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, from the ages of four to 17.
And they are now enjoying their golden years together after becoming separated when Fred left for military service in 1948.
Brenda Loy and Fred Wilcock were separated for 60 years when Fred joined the RAF in 1948 – but now they have been reunited and theirs has been named the perfect 'Yorkshire Love Story' by a local theatre
Their heartwarming tale has won a local theatre competition to find the 'perfect Yorkshire love story'.
After being split up by Fred's military obligations, both went on to have successful, long-lasting marriages while living just 30 miles apart.
But it wasn't until a chance meeting at a local hospice that they met up again. And love blossomed following the death of Fred's late wife, Dorothy, in 2010.
Fred Wilcock, 81, left, and Brenda Loy, 82, right, as teenagers in the Forties
Brenda, 82, a former Boots worker who still volunteers at her local hospice, said: 'We did everything together when we were kids.
'We had an incredibly close relationship from infants school until our teens. He always looked after me'
'We were both born in the small village and held hands as we walked together to the infant school down the hill.
'We played in the woods together and then, as we got older, we went to the pictures and attended local dances. He joined the local brass band and I used to go to watch him.
'We had an incredibly close relationship from infants school until our teens. He always looked after me.
'We were together so much growing up that everyone just expected that we'd end up together.'
Brenda said: 'We had an incredibly close relationship from infants school until our teens – e always looked after me'
Fred, 81, said: 'I wasn't one for girls when I was young. I was naive in that sense, but me and Brenda always shared a special friendship.
Brenda Loy in her teenage years, when everyone thought she and Fred would end up together
'Everybody thought we'd be a couple but events transpired to split us apart. But when we were apart I often wondered how she was.'
Fred's military service began in 1948, while Brenda found herself moving away from Yorkshire to live with her sister and brother-in-law who served in the Royal Air Force.
Both ended up in happy marriages. Fred married Dorothy in 1958 and went on to have two children, four grandchildren, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren while Brenda married Len in 1953 and now has two children and three grandchildren.
After her husband died in 1998, Brenda started working at the local St Luke's Hospice which is where she met Fred again.
She said: 'One day a couple knocked on the door of the hospice. I didn't recognise the man but then he said he was Fred.'
Fred joked: 'Brenda looked at me as if I'd come to clean the windows.'
Brenda got to know Fred again, and his wife Dorothy, over a cup of tea before going their separate ways.
But following Dorothy's passing two years ago Fred got back in touch with Brenda earlier this year.
'I'll never hurt her and I'll always be there for her – I think it is fate that brought us back together all these years later'
Fred said: 'I wasn't in a good way after my wife died two years ago but since meeting Brenda I'm a changed man. We have great days out and we're hoping to go on holiday next year. We have a good laugh together.
have no plans to marry because I made a commitment to my wife and to me
that is sacred, but what Brenda and I have is special.
'I'll never hurt her and I'll always be there for her. I think it is fate that brought us back together all these years later.'
Fred said: 'I wasn't in a good way after my wife died two years ago but since meeting Brenda I'm a changed man'
Brenda still lives in Hoyland while Fred currently resides in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Brenda said: 'Eventually we arranged a weekend in Leeds and a weekend in Hoyland. We've been doing that ever since. I never thought we'd be so close again, like we were when we were young.
'We are looking forward to the next years we have together being happy ones'
'We are looking forward to the next years we have together being happy ones.'
Brenda entered the competition run by The Civic in Barnsley. Their win means the couple will be VIP guests at the premiere of Hans Christian Andersen's The Tin Soldier at the venue in December.
Ian Morley, Theatre Programmer at The Civic, said: 'There could be only one winner. It's a fairy-tale story and we're looking forward to welcoming them as our guests for the opening.'
Brenda said: ' I never thought we'd be so close again, like we were when we were young – we are looking forward to the next years we have together being happy ones'
Fred and Brenda kiss under the mistletoe as they prepare for their first Christmas together, some 60 years since they were first friends
After her husband died in 1998, Brenda started working at the local St Luke's Hospice which is where she met Fred again
Fred, 81, said: 'I wasn't one for girls when I was young. I was naive in that sense, but me and Brenda always shared a special friendship'