How we met: ‘I thought she was really rude. But my heart went pitter-patter’

Fiftysomethings Don and Tracey met on an intensive-care ward in 1987 when she was a nurse and he was a nursing student. They live near Portsmouth

Don was in his third year of nurse training when he started a stint in intensive care at University College Hospital in London. “You could choose whether to do it in your first year or third year, but most of us wanted to wait until we had some experience, because it’s quite a difficult job,” he says. In March 1987, he walked on to the ward, feeling anxious. “I heard someone shout: ‘Hey!’ and thought it was really rude,” he remembers. “I was a cocky student at the time, so I turned around and said: ‘I’ve got a name, you know.’”

That is when he spotted Tracey, a newly qualified intensive-care nurse who had been working on the ward for a month. “I’d actually been calling out to a colleague – ‘Jane!’ – and he’d misheard me.” But, as he was there, she asked him to help her prepare a bed for a patient who was due to be admitted from A&E.

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