Unhesitatingly

Half Mag / Half Zine

A footballer who fell in love with a nurse he met as he recovered from a broken ankle in hospital has celebrated 60 years of wedded bliss with his beloved wife.

Trevor Meredith, 84, wrote his name into Burnley FC folklore when his winning goal against Manchester City crowned the Clarets champions of England in 1960.

But he said his real “lucky break” came a year earlier when he suffered the injury in a reserve game against Leeds United which led to him meeting Eileen, 79.

It was while recovering from his broken ankle at Burnley’s Victoria Hospital that Trevor first laid eyes on trainee nurse Eileen and asked her out.

Trevor’s initial advances were rejected by Eileen, who was not allowed to date patients, but he won her over when he was discharged and the pair hit it off.

And despite Trevor leaving a trail of wet plaster during their first date at a local cinema, they were a match made in heaven and married in 1961.

The couple celebrated their diamond anniversary on Monday, March 1, with cake and champagne and a social distanced visit from their two daughters Tracey and Julie.

Trevor, who played on the wing for the Lancashire club between 1957 and 1964 said: “I was at the hospital where Eileen worked and I was instantly attracted when I saw her.

“We got talking and things just developed from there. I still had my leg in plaster for the first date and she didn’t even realise that footballers got paid for playing.

“I had some great memories at Burnley and did some great things, but that was definitely my lucky break.

“I was very fortunate that it led to a happy adventure together.

“I was still new to the area and was living in digs at the time. Eileen was my first love and we’ve been very happy ever since.”

The pair honeymooned in Devon after tying the knot in a small ceremony in Eileen’s hometown of Haslingden, Lancs.

Trevor went on to play for Shrewsbury Town before returning to Lancashire to work as a teacher after retiring from football.

The couple, who also have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, said the secret to their long marriage was sharing a sense of humour and common interests.

Trevor added: “We enjoy the same music, we both like walking, especially in the Lake District, and we enjoy travelling and eating out.

“We just generally enjoy each other’s company, it has been a wonderful 60 years.

“We’ve got a lovely family who care about us and we’ve had some great times together.

“You’ve got to give and take and share responsibilities.”

Eileen, who went onto work in a pharmacy and later in an administrative role at the hospital, said she knocked back Trevor at first, but was soon wooed.

She said: “Trevor was in hospital with another player called David Smith. The pair of them were larking about.

“I worked on the children’s ward at the time and David came up to the ward and asked if I would see Trevor, but we weren’t allowed to fraternise with the patients.

“I saw him a few days later and he asked if I would see him when he left the hospital.”

Trevor returned to his native Shropshire for some rest and recuperation after being discharged from hospital and sent Eileen a bunch of roses to the ward.

Eileen added: “They went to the Matron’s office and a colleague said ‘Matron wants to see you’.

“If you got called to see the Matron, you were either getting a promotion or getting sacked and I knew I wasn’t up for promotion. Luckily I just got a telling off so I got away with that one.

“When he came to Burnley we went on a date to the cinema and that was lovely, but it was raining and his leg was still in plaster so he left a trail of wet plaster in the street.”

Trevor proposed to Eileen one day when he dropped her off at the hospital and she said yes instantly.

Eileen added: “Of course I was attracted straight away, Trevor was very handsome and had a great sense of humour, he was often joking about and playing tricks.

“There’s lots of little things that make a marriage last, we get on so well.

“We would usually go for a big family meal to celebrate our anniversary but obviously we couldn’t do that this year, but we had cake and champagne and a visit from our daughters which was lovely.”