Old work pals who were inseparable in their teens but lost touch more than 70 years ago have finally been reunited – after bumping into each other at a care home.
Marion Darbyshire, 91, and Winnie Shaw, 94, met as apprentices at a sewing factory, becoming close friends and spent six days a week together.
But the previously inseparable pair lost contact when Winnie left the factory to get married and raise a her three children, two girls and a boy.
Meanwhile, Marion went on to have a long career as a manager at Coops sewing factory in their hometown of Wigan, Lancs.
She still wears a inscribed watch that was gifted to her on retirement.
Now, a staggering 73 years later, the pair have been reunited after bumping into each other at the care home where they are residents.
Marion said: “I couldn’t believe it when we were sat at the same table for dinner, I said ‘is it Winnie Shaw?’
“I thought there can’t be many Winnies around – and it was her.
“I feel lucky to have my friend back in my life, we get on just as well now as we did back then.”
They started their apprenticeship at the factory as teens and would work ten hour shifts on weekdays and work every Saturday morning.
Despite not having any contact for so many years, the pair hit it off again in Lakeside Care home in Wigan.
Marion went to Lakeside in May for respite care after battling Covid-19, which saw her become seriously ill and admitted to hospital for treatment.
She was lonely at home, struggled to walk and used a scooter outside if it was not raining.
Marion, who has no children, had to rely on her niece and nephew to do her shopping for her.
But she now feels happier than she has in a long time, especially after catching up with Winnie.
Marion added: “We haven’t seen each other now for 73 years, which was a very big surprise for both of us.
“How many people meet up who had been friends after all those years but lost touch from 18 to 91?”
Staff at the care home say they spend their days together “causing mischief” and take part in activities with other residents.
Winnie, a grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of four, said: “We left school at 14, we went straight to Coops on an apprenticeship.
“It was our first job and we worked from 8am to 6pm and were in until 12 Saturday mornings.
“We lost touch and never met again until we met at the home. When I got married I left work because that’s what you did back then.
“Married women stopped working.
“I couldn’t feel happier that we’re now reunited and get to reminisce on our old memories, it’s lovely to have a friend.”