When Lew Collett met a young nurse named Helen after being hospitalised in a motorbike accident, he had no idea what their future together held.
Now the couple have celebrated 65 years of happy marriage, after what could have been a tragic day turned out to be the start of a wonderful relationship.
They marked their blue sapphire anniversary with a family get-together at their home in Long Lane, Hillingdon, together with their children Elaine, Alan, Joan and John.
Retired engineer and lecturer Mr Collett, 88, said: “It’s a wonderful feeling to have been married this long. We’re very pleased. It was a wonderful day.”
The pair, who have nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, met when Mr Collett was taken to Royal Portsmouth Hospital with a fractured skull, after crashing his motorcycle into a car on the way to visit his brother in the Royal Navy in 1947.
Mrs Collett, now 87, who was working as a nurse at the time, was charged with looking after him.
Mr Collett said for him it was “love at first sight,” adding: “I just couldn’t get over it. I was head-over-heels.”
The pair were married nearly three years later, on May 9, 1950, in Midleton, Ireland.
After 50 years of marriage, woodworking enthusiast Mr Collett carved a miniature bench bearing the date of their anniversary to give to his wife, followed by an accompanying table after 60 years.
On their 65th anniversary, he gave her a miniature tray, which, like the other items, he fashioned out of an old cigar box.
The couple also received a card from the Queen, which now has pride of place in their lounge.
Mr Collett said the secret of their long and happy marriage together was “tolerance and understanding”.
He added: “I think I can safely say, I don’t think we’ve had a row in our 65 years.”