WHEN Ann and Chris Jackson went their separate ways more than a quarter of a century ago, it marked the end of an era – or so they thought.
Their love had blossomed in the nightspots of Seventies Sheffield and they even had their wedding reception in 1977 in the Hofbrauhaus in Eyre Street where Sheffield-born Ann worked as a barmaid.
But they were to split up and had not seen each other for 26 years before being thrown back together by a twist of fate.
After a photograph of the wedding party appeared in the ‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Sheffield’ book, Ann and Chris met again at the book launch.
The spark was still there – and now they are to get married again.
Much of their courting took place in long-gone venues such as the Hofbrauhaus, The Fiesta and the Penny Farthing, but by the Eighties their relationship had gone the same way as the stack heels of the era before and Chris remained in his native Wrexham where the couple had set up home whilst Ann moved back to Sheffield.
Ann, who was just 17 when she began dating Chris, said: “It wasn’t as though Chris had done anything wrong – we just never saw one another because he was working the entire time helping run the family haulage business.”
Though she ended up remarrying and having two children, she freely admits nothing could ever match the excitement of her time in Seventies Sheffield with her first love.
Now 54 and still living in Sheffield, she was shocked when she heard of the photo’s re-emergence in the book by local author Neil Anderson.
She said: “A car suddenly screeched to a halt when I was walking to the bus stop and my friend Jacqueline, who also used to work at the Hofbrauhaus with her husband Orrett, shouted out ‘I’ve just seen you in this new book on your wedding day’!”
When Chris, in Wales, heard of the book he didn’t need much persuading to attend its launch at a Seventies reunion night in Sheffield.
Ann had got divorced two years earlier and Chris, now 60, was also single.
“He told me he’d only ever had one love and had sworn never to marry again. He kept that promise until he asked me to marry him – again!”
Guests are now set to fly in from as far away as Switzerland for the wedding at the Rutland Hotel in April. And what do Ann’s kids Joshua, 20, and Ellie, 14 think of their mother’s impending nuptials?
Ann said: “The only thing they ever had a problem with was the fact Chris now looks smaller than he did in the Seventies. That can be explained easily – he doesn’t wear platforms any more!
“Other than that everything’s perfect. He rings me four times a day, every day. He’s with me every weekend and he’s looking forward to selling up and moving to Sheffield and being with me in a few days’ time after our wedding.”
Neil Anderson will be be guest of honour at the wedding. He said: “I amassed literally hundreds of photos in my research but only had room for a small fraction. One particular one caught my eye straight way – it was of a bride and groom looking totally made for each other.”
Neil added: “It’s a real honour to have been the person that has set this amazing chain of events in motion. Ann and Chris are fantastic people and I truly hope they find true happiness this time – I get the feeling they will. Not least because Chris has promised to leave his busy work life behind him and settle down to married life in Sheffield with Ann.”
l‘Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1970s Sheffield’ is available from The Star Shop, York Street, and other bookshops for £12.95.