Doncaster man banned from marrying his bride to be finally ties knot with her - 65 years later

Davy and Helen Moakes. (Photo: SWNS).
Davy and Helen Moakes. (Photo: SWNS).

A Doncaster man who was forced to call off his engagement 65 years ago has finally wed the woman he was banned from marrying.

A family row meant Helen Andre, 82, and Davy Moakes, 86, never tied the knot in 1951.

Helen Andre was banned from marrying Davy Moakes. (Photo: SWNS).

Helen Andre was banned from marrying Davy Moakes. (Photo: SWNS).

Now the pair have finally exchanged vows and become man and wife - after being reunited after decades apart.

Ms Andre's daughter Debbie Williams, who tracked Mr Moakes down, said the pair were "madly in love" after being brought back together.

She said they pair, who met at art college, originally split because her mother's parents did not approve of his job as an artist.

"Back in the 1950s [being an artist] was probably wasn't considered a good career for a future son-in-law," she said.

Davy Moakes' career as an artist was deemed unsuitable. (Photo: SWNS).

Davy Moakes' career as an artist was deemed unsuitable. (Photo: SWNS).

"It broke both their hearts but in those days you did as you were told."

Ms Williams said after her mother became widowed for a third time she decided to find Mr Moakes.

She said: "They got talking and rekindled their relationship and they fell madly in love... I am so happy for them."

The couple, who have outlived five partners between them, were married at Ripley register office in Derbyshire on Friday afternoon.

Mr Moakes said: "If you love someone as much as we do it never goes away."

The new Mrs Moakes said: "I've loved him all my life, I'm overjoyed, we're together at last."

"When I was 19 and my mother and father stopped me marrying him I was heartbroken … They wanted to decide who I married, not me. They were quite Victorian like that.

"I have loved Davy my whole life, but now I’ve got him. I’m enjoying every minute of it. I feel like a teenager again, it really is like nothing’s changed."

Following her third husband’s death in 2010, Mrs Moakes had moved to live with her daughter in Alfreton.

On a visit to nearby South Normanton – where she had first met Mr Moakes – she noticed a sculpture with the signature Adrian Moakes.

A search on social media revealed that the creator, 57, was her former fiance’s youngest child.

Her daughter contacted the senior Mr Moakes, who was living in Doncaster, but he was nursing his second wife Margaret, who had Alzheimer’s disease. Following her death 18 months ago, contact was made again to pass on condolences.

Mr Moakes later moved to Alfreton and proposed in October. He said: ‘It’s so strong, the love between us. Even after all this time, it still feels the same. It’s just perfect, it’s just how it was.’

The groom, who became an artist in his late 60s after a career teaching art and then in design, was 21 when the couple first met. They became engaged the following year and planned to marry when she was 19 – until her parents Adrian and Gertrude West intervened.

Three years later, in 1956, the pair almost rekindled the relationship when Mr Moakes’s father bought two tickets for a local dance. But Mr and Mrs West locked her in her bedroom to stop her attending.

Mr Moakes described their objection as ‘very unfair … but there was nothing we could do about it, unless we were to run away, so we drifted apart."