Bowls rivals have surprise reunion after almost 60 years

Bowls rivals in their 80s are stunned to realise they were best friends 60 years ago when one was even best man at the other’s wedding

  •  Mike Grinham, 80 and and Jim Lane, 82 had their reunion at a bowls match
  • Jim was even best man at Mike’s wedding but the pair lost touch after the event
  • The pair realised they were old friends when they started chatting at the match

Jim Lane (left) and Mike Grinham (right)

Two opposing bowls team captains were left stunned at a recent match when they realised they were long-lost best friends who hadn’t seen each for almost 60 years.      

Mike Grinham, 80 and and Jim Lane, 82 met as teenagers when they worked as waiters at Torquay’s Imperial hotel.

Retired BT engineer Jim was even best man at Mike’s wedding but when his friend moved away they lost touch.  

Mike who was bowling for Exeter and Jim Lane, 82 – playing for Torquay – Devon didn’t recognise each other when they began chatting at the match.

But were bowled over when they realised they were old friends.

Jim said: ‘We were good pals – played a lot of table tennis back then.

‘We had good fun – they were happy days.

‘I had a lot of respect for Mike – I was honoured to be his best man.’

Mike Grinham (centre) on his wedding day in 1960 with Jim Lane (pictured third from left)

Jim (pictured in the 1960s) did not see his friend for 58 years until the surprise reunion

Mike (right) and Jim (left) met as teenagers when they worked as waiters at a Torquay hotel

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But Mike’s wedding was the last day they would see each other for 58 years.

Retired cafe owner Mike moved to Bristol while Jim headed to the Midlands.

Jim, who is married to Evelyn, said: ‘That was it – we completely lost touch.

‘There was no Facebook or social media back then.’

And Mike added: ‘In those days you corresponded by post but it wasn’t possible.’

Eventually Mike retired to Exeter and Jim returned to Torquay.    

Mike married to Maureen said: ‘We were playing a match a fortnight ago and we were both leading for our respective sides.

‘And we were talking about Torquay.

‘And Jim asked me if I knew Torquay very well.

‘I said, ‘crikey yes it’s my home town.

‘He asked where I had lived and said, Daddyhole Plain.

‘And he said, ‘oh I knew a bloke up there, Mike Grinham, do you know him?

‘And I said, ‘yeah, that’s me’.

‘He said, ‘I’m Jimmy Lane’.

‘Because Jim’s changed a lot.

‘I mean what a freak thing to happen after 58 years.’

Jim added: ‘It was only because we were both leading the sides that we got talking.

‘Neither of us recognised the other – it had been so long – and we’d both changed.

‘It was fate that brought us back together really.’  

‘I couldn’t bowl after that – I lost it completely.’

The pair’s wives were astonished by the reunion and have already met up again a couple of times since hearing the news.

 

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