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Home   Tenterden   News   Article

Steam enthusiasts Alan Crotty and Cathy Roberts to wed 43 years after union first hit buffers

23 May 2014
by Tricia Jamieson

Wedding bells will finally ring for Alan Crotty and Cathy Roberts today – 45 years after he first proposed.

The teenage sweethearts got engaged on Cathy’s 18th birthday in 1968, but split up two years later.

A mutual friend reintroduced them in 2007, and love blossomed second time around.

Alan, 66, who has never married, said: “Cathy was always the one for me. She had never left my mind – no one else would do.”

Cathy, 63, said of their reunion: “It was like we had never been apart.”

They met at Kent & East Sussex Railway’s Rolvenden station as teenagers. Alan joined as a volunteer in 1961 while Cathy joined in 1966.

Cathy, from Tenterden, went to London University to do mechanical engineering while Alan began his career on the railways as an apprentice mechanic.

They got engaged on Cathy’s 18th birthday in London’s Sloane Square, but broke up around two years later.

“We don’t know why,” said Cathy. “No one can remember.”

Teenage sweethearts Cathy Roberts and Alan Crotty, photographed in 1968 when he first proposed

Teenage sweethearts Cathy Roberts and Alan Crotty, photographed in 1968 when he first proposed

While Alan pursued his career with the railways, also travelling the world as a railway photographer, Cathy stayed in Tenterden and worked at NatWest Bank.

She continued with KESR, marrying another volunteer, but that did not last.

“Cathy was always the one for me. She had never left my mind – no one else would do" - Alan Crotty

The couple did not see each other again until 2007 when invited to a mutual friend’s house.

“I recognised her straight away, despite the gap,” said Alan.

Cathy was a signalman with KESR and encouraged Alan to rejoin the railway. He took a signalman course, and romance was rekindled.

“We went back to Sloane Square in 2011 and I proposed again,” said Alan. “I didn’t have to buy another engagement ring as Cathy is using her grandmother’s – but I still have the 1968 ring.”

As KESR has played such a part in their romances, the obvious choice for their wedding reception was the buffet at Tenterden Station.

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