A pair of teenage sweethearts who didn’t speak for 36 years after he left for the army were reunited after he sent her a message out of the blue.
Roland and Lisa Lalor, 56 and 54, claim they knew they would get married the moment they found each other, but had to wait nearly four decades to tie the knot.
After losing touch for three decades when Roland joined the army, he sent her message with just five words: “Hi, how are you doing?”
The couple, who used to swap love letters signed with Smiths Lyrics and kept a photo of each other all this time, reignited their romance and were married within a year.
Lisa said Roland was her “one and only”.
Even in the years after he left for army service, she would frequently speak of her “first love,” she said.
The pair first met during a summer retreat on Barry Island in South Wales, where they quickly fell in love and became inseparable. The besotted couple, who were a chef and waitress at a Butlins holiday park, spent four months together.
Lisa said she knew already then they were destined to get wed.
After the summer season was over Lisa returned to Haslington, near Crewe, Cheshire, while Roland went home to Burnley, Lancs.
They exchanged dozens of love letters over the following months, all signed off with Smiths lyrics, as the pair were big fans.
But their love story was cut short, when Roland joined the army in June 1986 to become a chef. The letters suddenly stopped and they didn’t talk anymore.
But in August last year, after more than three decades without sharing a word, Roland found Lisa on Facebook, and sent her a message.
Just five days later, on Aug 16, they met at Preston Railway Station where Roland said he recognised her just from her walk, even though she was wearing a face mask.
He said he couldn’t understand how they had drifted apart but realised that day that his ‘life was going to change’.
Roland, a support worker, said: “I just wanted to know if she had a good life, but I was nervous as hell. At one point I was walking away and I just took her hand without thinking, and she started giggling.
“I knew from that moment that my life was going to change. I still loved her, and she loved me.”
After joining the army, Roland spent the next 13 years travelling across the globe. But through all of the years he always kept a picture of Lisa which she had left a note saying ‘love you’ with him – and she kept one of him as well.
He added: “Looking back, we never fell out. But I don’t know why we stopped talking. I don’t think I realised back then what we had, and I don’t think I knew that Lisa loved me.
“I sent her the last letter in June 1986, and then that was it.”
Roland got married in 1991 and had a son Thomas, 29, but got divorced roughly 15 years ago. Lisa got married in 1987 and had two children of her own, now aged 32, and 24, but also split from her husband some years ago.
Speaking of their first shot at a relationship, Lisa said she had thought they were going to get married. She was “madly in love,” she said, and so was left devastated when he joined the army.
“When he left, I was devastated, I was so madly in love. I went to Barry Island and came away with the love of my life,” she said.
“And then I lost him.”
On New Year’s Eve, Roland again asked Lisa to meet him at Preston Railway Station.
When she stepped off the train, he was waiting on one knee to pop the question as the doors opened.
They returned to South Wales on Aug 16 this year and tied the knot just 15 miles away from where they first met.