After Elton John ended their relationship weeks before they were due to marry 50 years ago, their lives took different paths.

Linda Hannon had known him as plain old Reg Dwight and supported the aspiring rock star before he scored his first hit.

But songwriting partner Bernie Taupin talked him out of staying with her on his stag do – an event that was later referenced in the hit Somebody Saved My Life Tonight.

And while Elton, 73, is now a global superstar, Linda lives a low-key life as a doctor’s office manager in Dallas, Texas.

But she never resented him and has watched his career flourish with fondness. So when she found herself in need of help, her thoughts turned to the old love she still refers to as Reg.

Elton John pictured in 1971 with Bernie Taupin

And she was delighted when he answered her call – with a little help from the Mirror.

Linda, 76, was in agony in recent months as she needs a knee replacement but was unable to have the op because she could not afford to take five weeks off work to recuperate.

Her hours at the surgery had been cut because of the Covid-19 pandemic and unpaid leave was not an option. Linda said: “My knee is awful to walk on and I’ve been having shots... I thought of Reg and whether he could help. It was a long shot.

“I sent a couple of emails to his management and put in a couple of details only Reg might remember, such as the time we were driving up the A1 to Bernie’s parents for lunch and we had a car accident. I had my arm in a sling for a while and only he would know that.

Linda Sawford, Elton's former lover

“Then he came to my brother’s 21st birthday party. Reg, myself and my mother took the train to Newcastle. I remember him wearing a bottle green suit. I think it was the only one he had. They were the little things I did to prove who I was. But I never heard anything back.”

Linda said given the huge amount of fan mail and correspondence Elton gets, it was perhaps little surprise. But undeterred, she turned to the Mirror in the hope that the star might read her story and help.

In her own words, she hoped she could “call in a favour” – not least as she had helped him and Bernie out financially as they chased the big-time.

Elton pictured alongside his partner David Furnish

Linda said: “In the late 60s, Reg and Bernie weren’t earning any money, so I was hoping, from one friend to another, whether they could help me through this financial blip. When Reg started out, I was paying the rent, bills and for the food. It was while they were trying to live their dreams.”

When the Mirror related her story to Elton’s team, they responded almost immediately – saying he would be delighted to help. A source close to Elton told us: “When Elton heard about Linda’s plight, he didn’t hesitate for a second to help out.

“He remembers how good she was 50 years ago, when he and Bernie needed the support, and is really pleased to be able to help her in her hour of need.”

Linda said: “I am so touched by Reg. After all these years, it’s so kind. I am thrilled to bits that he is offering to help.”

The legendary singer converted his civil partnership to marriage in 2014

Edinburgh-born Linda met Elton in 1968, when he was 21, in a Sheffield club.

They quickly fell in love and Linda left Sheffield and found a flat in North London.

Elton and Bernie both moved in but when they got engaged, they got their own flat.

Linda said: “We were weeks from getting married, we had new furniture and a flat in Mill Hill, North London. His mother had gone and ordered the cake.”

But Elton’s stag do with Bernie and blues singer Long John Baldry spelled the end of their relationship.

The pair got Elton “roaring drunk” and told him to call it off, saying he was going to ruin two lives – his own and Linda’s.

Linda Hannon holds up an old photo of her ex Elton John

It came just months before he scored a smash hit with Your Song in 1970.

And in 1975, Elton released single Someone Saved My Life Tonight, about their break-up.

Bernie’s lyrics include the line: “You almost had your hooks in me, didn’t you dear? You nearly had me roped and tied, altar-bound, hypnotised.”

Despite the blow, Linda brushed herself down and got on with her life.

She said: “I’ve never felt bitter towards him other than in the immediate aftermath. You kind of get over things and I am so happy he has found his true love in David [Furnish] and he has his boys.”

Elton went on to wed Renate Blauel in 1984 but they divorced in 1988, when he came out as gay. Linda said: “I knew when he was a virgin but it never crossed my mind he was gay.”

In 2014, Elton converted his long-term civil partnership with David Furnish into a marriage and they have kids Zachary, nine, and Elijah, seven.

Nine months after her split with Elton, Linda wed James Bowens – but they split soon after as she admits she was still in love with the singer.

She then wed Tony, the father of her sons James, Oliver and Alex, before divorcing and meeting and marrying William Hannon. She moved to America as William was in the US military, but they sadly split too.

Linda said: “I have been on my own for almost 20 years and have three sons. I have never really met anyone that I kind of clicked with.”

The Mirror's front page from February 1984

The closest Linda has ever got to seeing Elton again was at a concert in Dallas. She said: “I got quite choked when he walked on stage as I hadn’t seen him for such a long time. It was a wonderful concert, I really enjoyed it.”

And despite the way things ended, Linda still remembers the good times as Elton and Bernie chased their dreams.

She said: “We used to go to the recording studio at night and listen to him rehearse.

“It was a very nice, loving ­relationship.

“I got on very well with his mum Sheila and his stepfather, and used to stay with them.

“I didn’t know he and his mum had fallen out, they were very close when I was with him. I was so happy to hear they did reconcile before she passed.”

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