• Ukulele star George Formby’s engagement 61 years ago, Valentine’s Day February 14, 1961

GEORGE Formby’s engagement to Pat Howson was 61 years ago, Valentine’s Day February 14, 1961.

Following the death of his wife Beryl in December 1960, Ukulele star Formby, 56, embarked on a whirlwind romance with Pat, 36, a religious education teacher at St Wilfrid’s School, Preston, who considered becoming a nun.

They planned to marry in March 1961 at St Francis Church Chapel, Goosnargh, near Preston, and had bought a Georgian Manor House.

Eight days after their engagement Formby suffered a heart attack at Pat’s home and was rushed to St Joseph’s Hospital, Mount Street, Preston. On March 6, as Pat was winding up her daily hospital visit, Formby suffered a further, but this time, fatal heart attack.

Pat, who served in the Wrens during World War 2, said: “When I went to see George I had never seen him looking better. He was in high spirits. We had been chatting for half an hour about our plans for the future when I noticed a sudden change in his condition”

Wigan-born Formby left Pat today’s equivalent of £2.25m in his will. She died of ovarian cancer in 1971.

Los Montesinos author Andrew Atkinson has published the biography ‘Formby’s Lost Love’ €10. Order a copy via email: lancashiremedia@gmail.com