Normandy veteran Roy Vickerman says he and his fiancée Nora Jackson are still ‘madly in love’ – even though they have been forced apart by the coronavirus pandemic.
Roy is currently self-isolating at home in Hartshill with his son Howard, while Nora lives at Marrow House Residential Home in Longton.
Roy, who celebrated his 94th birthday on Thursday, sent Nora a love letter and a bouquet of flowers when the lockdown meant he could no long see her.
Meanwhile, Nora’s daughter, Kathleen Hill, delivered cards and presents to Roy from her and her mother on his birthday.
Roy – a retired architect who designed the famous Golden Torch nightclub in Tunstall – said: “I can’t see Nora right now, but we are still madly in love. She is my beautiful queen.
“I have a photo of her which was taken just before she went into the care home which I keep looking at. She looks absolutely beautiful.
“I can’t see Nora now, but I know she is safe and being looked after. It’s a beautiful place, it’s like a first class hotel.
“I sent her a bouquet of flowers and a letter. I said, ‘Has the world gone mad?’
“Then on my birthday, Nora’s daughter Kathleen, who is a lovely person, came round to make sure I got a card from Nora and some lovely presents, which I really appreciated.
“Howard cooked me my favourite meal and my other son Tony and his wife Christine dropped off presents too.
“My brother Alan, who is aged 90, called from Bournemouth and he and his wife Pauline sang happy birthday down the phone.”
Roy added: “It’s Nora’s 94th birthday at the end of April, but I won’t be able to see her.
“In my letter to Nora, I said we were together all the way through the war, but now this has come along and split us down the middle.”
The couple first met in 1940 at school in Bucknall when Roy was evacuated from London.
He was introduced to his class as ‘the new boy from London’. Roy said: “My eyes fell on this pretty girl, which was Nora.”
He asked her on a date and the couple were soon engaged.
But Roy was called up to serve with Black Watch and then joined the Army Intelligence Corps. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge and was then wounded by a sniper during the invasion of Germany.
When he returned home, Roy was suffering from what would now be called PTSD and the couple separated.
They didn’t see each other for 70 years until Roy was given Nora’s address by DJ Graham Torrington after he spoke about her on his BBC call-in show.
When Roy arrived at Nora’s Shelton home by taxi, he had intended to simply give her a bunch of flowers and apologise for the way their affair had ended after the war.
Instead, Nora threw her arms around him and soon after Roy proposed – using the ring he had originally given her during the Second World War, and which Nora had returned to him when they broke off their engagement.
Although Nora has left her Shelton home to move into Marrow House, the couple have remained close ever since – until the Covid-19 pandemic forced their current separation.
Roy said: “I want to be with Nora, but you have got to stay positive. The best advice I ever received from a teacher was to ‘always remember to have a positive mental attitude’.”
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