A FRIENDSHIP forged between three former army men is still going strong — 60 years after they met on national service.
Keith Dutton was conscripted into the army as a gunner in late 1957, along with Sheffielder Alan Wragg and Paul Atkinson from Blackburn, Lancashire.
The trio, who spent a year stationed in Hong Kong, met up in Sheffield to mark 60 years of being pals.
Keith (80), of Newman Road, Moorgate, said: “The three of us have never lost contact. We’ve not lived in one-another’s pockets by any means, we had our own families and careers to follow.
“But we used to meet up fairly frequently and we always knew that we’d be there for each other if ever we needed help.”
Among the group’s many happy reunions and family gatherings was a week-long trip to Hong Kong ten years ago.
Middle row, from left: Keith Dutton, Alan Wragg and Paul Atkinson at a regimental sports day in Hong Kong in 1958
Retired civil engineer Keith — now a grandad of three — said: “It’s a strange thing, friendship.
“It develops when you’re in close contact with people on a daily basis, especially under circumstances like being in the forces, and it can also last when you’re not together all the time.
“But you all have to contribute something to it.
“There’s no free-loading, that soon gets found out in a real friendship.”