My parents met in Leeds in the early 1950s. He was the George Best of his day, handsome and headstrong, unusually, a South African import in the Leeds United football squad. I wondered how a naturally shy person like Myra caught the eye of the local legend?
— On the bus.
— Football stars travelled by public transport in those days!
— Oh yes. They didn’t earn much more than anyone else.
— But you weren’t a football fan. How did you recognise him?
— He was always in the newspaper. Everyone knew the footballers.
— I bet he flirted with you on the bus.
(I’ve seen pictures of her then, the height of affordable glamour.)
— Yes. Gave me tickets to a match. My dad was a big fan, so we went… But it was very embarrassing.
— Because George stopped in front of the stand and waved at me when he ran onto the pitch. Everyone turned and looked at me ... my dad frowned but I knew he was chuffed.
Now I understand her uncharacteristically bold decision to follow George to South Africa, in the days when it was unheard of for nice lasses to undertake solo adventures abroad. They were eventually married. Very unhappily. As an only, motherless child (Myra lost her mum aged 7) she adored George's big-hearted mother and his warm sisters, as they loved their ‘Limey’, even after the divorce.