Page 3 Profile: Herbert Riley, pensioner


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Would like to meet…

…an old flame. In a bid to track down a lost love, pensioner Herbert Riley has distributed 10,000 leaflets in Reddish, Manchester, detailing his search for the woman he “never forgot”.

Desperately seeking Susan?

No, Reeni. Mr Riley, 83, fell in love with her in 1955 when they met at a Stockport dance hall. He was 24 and lived in Davenport; she was four years his junior and was from Brinksway. They danced together four times a week and visited the Stockport Town Hall ballroom regularly too. Unlike younger generations which have become accustomed to compulsively documenting their relationships on camera, he doesn’t have a picture of Reeni. “We didn’t bother taking pictures, we were too busy having fun”, Mr Riley said.

Did he waltz his way into her heart?

Unfortunately somebody else cut in. After four years as dance partners Reeni suddenly married another man she had known for just six weeks. Mr Riley, a former engineer, has not spoken to her for 55 years and doesn’t remember her surname. He went on to meet his wife Margaret, but she tragically died from leukaemia in 1963 aged 34, four years after they married.

And he never saw Reeni again?

He caught a fleeting glimpse of her working in a bakery in Reddish in the 1980s but the pair didn’t speak and he subsequently moved to Birmingham for work. Mr Riley, who now lives in Longsight and has survived six heart attacks, longs to find her so he can leave her all his money when he dies.

He’ll be fighting off the ladies with a stick!

Listen carefully and you’ll hear the sound of gold-diggers across the country perfecting their foxtrot in hopes of claiming Reeni’s identity and bagging a fortune. However, imposters will have trouble pulling the wool over Mr Riley’s eyes as only Reeni would be able to recollect their shared experiences.

Why has he chosen to leave Reeni everything?

“We saw each other six times a week for four years. I have two brothers who don’t need my money. I want to leave her all my money,” Mr Riley said. “All my friends and the rest of my family are dead. I think about her all the time.” He added: “We spent a lot of time together – I’ve missed her ever since.”