When I was about 27 I got my first guide dog – 1961 – called Sheba. She was the first guide dog in the Furness area.
Edith kellet was the welfare visitor. She asked if I’d be willing to come down to the Lyseum Hall? ‘I want you to meet a gentleman that’s just been registered blind,’ she said. ‘He’s supposed to be going away to Torquay.’ She asked me if I’d write to him while he was away. I said I would, but he’d have to write first.
Well I got three letters from him and I didn’t answer any of them! But I got told that I had to answer – I didn’t even know the address cos I’d ripped the letters up! Thrown them away!
We went down to his mum and dad who lived on the coast road, they gave me the address. And we then carried on writing to each other.
When he got a job in Kendal he’d come down to Barrow on a Saturday. After a few months I started going up there on a Sunday, to his parents. His parents were lovely, and his sister and brother in law, and the children – I mean I love children. It was absolutely fantastic, I used to love my weekends
Eventually he kept asking if I’d marry him. Well, after about eight or nine times, I said, yes, OK!
I was married at St John’s Church on Barrow Island in a long white wedding dress, with a diamante top, and a white veil. Billy Unsworth, who had the taxis, took me to church with my dad. When we got over to St John’s church, I couldn’t get in, there was just crowds and crowds of people. Jim Westward, the policeman on the beat, came and moved them so I could get into the church!
Thanks to Joan for this story. Joan was born blind.