In the summer of 1958, 18 year old Frank Butcher was in Clacton, Essex when he met Pat Harris. Pat was 16 at the time. By chance, they were both from the same area of London, Walford. Frank and Pat's relationship did not last the first time round and in 1959 he married June Simmonds. Pat later married Pete Beale. She did however keep in occasional contact with Frank.
1987-1994 Meeting again and marriage
In September 1987, Frank was now a widower with 4 children and Pat a divorcee with 2 children. In the spring of 1988 Frank and Pat went into partnership to buy The Queen Victoria in Walford. Frank's children Diane Butcher and Ricky Butcher came to live with them while his youngest Janine Butcher stayed with Frank's eldest daughter Clare Butcher in Manchester. Frank and Pat "Frat" married in June 1989, 31 years after they first met. In early 1990 Diane ran away from home after several rows with her father. She was taken advantage of by Matthew Taylor. Frank had to be restrained from battering the guy when he saw him. Frank and Pat gave up the Vic in early 1990 and Frank set up a car lot called Frank's Autos. Frank and Pat later took on Mandy Salter but she was a troublesome teen. In December 1992, Pat accidentally knocked a girl down while drunk driving. She was imprisoned for a few months for manslaughter.
Frank struggled without Pat and the cab firm hit financial difficulties. Pat was released from prison in August 1993. In November 1993, a rival cab firm forced Frank to close down his business and Frank and Pat finished the year in financial ruin. In early 1994 Phil Mitchell bought Frank's old home for a low price and Frank's share in the cafe. Frank still had crippling debts. In February 1994 Frank called the favour in and asked Phil to torch the car lot. After some umming and arring, Phil agreed and in early March 1994 he set fire to the car lot. A vagrant was asleep in one of the cars and was rushed to hospital. He died the following day in hospital. Frank and Phil fell apart and had to cover their tracks when the police came swarming. Pat was worried about Frank. Frank had said to the police his company books had gone up in flames. But as Pat did not know this, she handed the books to the loss adjuster for the insurance company. Frank had been cheerful again but Pat said the loss adjuster was looking at the books. Frank fell apart but had to hide his grief in front of Pat. In early April 1994, Frank's car was written off by Robbie Jackson and his mate Kevin. Moody, depressed and emotional, Frank left Walford without telling anyone, not even Pat.
Frank slept rough for a while then ended up in a mental hospital. In November 1995, Frank was released from hospital after feeling better. Pat had got on with her life and was dating Roy Evans, she was sure Frank would never return.
1995-2008 on off relationship
In December 1995, Frank returned to Walford to claim his home, wife and business. He and Roy crossed swords and almost came to blows.