Linda's story: "Richard was widowed in February 2005 - the same month that my husband left me. I was about to celebrate 33 years of marriage on 1st April .. but decided that I was not going to be foolish about the devastating situation I felt I was in. After a while, when the hurt and anger were under control I looked at a couple of friendship sites and settled on PARSHIP.
After a disappointing start to my contacts, I was given some good advice by your team and slightly amended the wording on my profile - and so caught Richard's eye! On 1st January 2008 we exchanged our first Icebreaker ... then after twice daily emails our first telephone call in mid-February (which lasted for 2 and half hours!); finally meeting for the first time on Sunday 9th March. The 97 miles between us didn't seem to matter and Richard visited Folkestone again the following week - and I think we both knew at that point that this was 'serious'. We became engaged in July of 2008 and are now busy planning our wedding - which is in less than a month's time!! Saturday 17th October is the big day! We are both blessed by loving families and friends who are supportive of our relationship. Getting married two days before my 60th birthday means that I get a birthday party on the Sunday, and can celebrate a double event over the weekend! The only glitch in the proceedings is that PARSHIP very nearly lost me the opportunity of meeting Richard at all! I had put on my profile that I didn't like facial hair - especially full beards - and yet Richard seemed to be a look-alike for Captain Birdseye when I first met him! How did he slip through the profile net? Never mind though, by the second date the beard had gone - he looked twenty years younger and his lovely smile was there! Thank you PARSHIP for letting him slip through the net to me!
Richard's story: "I was widowed in 2005 after 30 very happy years with my first wife. Little did I think even two years ago that I would be blessed enough to find such happiness for a second time, but I have, thanks to Linda, who is now my wife - and to PARSHIP, which brought us together. Beginning to think that a new relationship would be rather nice was the first step. The next step could have been just waiting to see what happened, but as an older, second-time-around person, I felt I needed to do be doing something a bit more positive to help it happen. I'm not a natural at using the internet or emails as part of my social life, but I am so glad that after hearing a friend mention she had tried internet dating, and then coming across a PARSHIP advert in my newspaper, I took the plunge. The idea of getting to know people I had never met through a website and then exchanging emails with them seemed a really strange business at first, though I soon became a bit more comfortable with it.
Getting my first email from Linda on New Year's Day 2008 turned out to be a wonderful start to that year and to the rest of our lives together – though it took me a little while to appreciate this! Our early emails to each other included me expressing my anxieties about a first face to face meeting with someone else I had met through PARSHIP, and Linda kindly supplying support and common sense about this. That other relationship didn't blossom as you'll have gathered, but things between Linda and me progressed very well indeed - and very quickly.
I was attracted by what Linda had said about herself, especially her work as a teacher and someone involved in Guiding, and the clues this gave about her positive approach to life and the value she attached to everyone being given a chance. And her description of herself as 'voluptuous' was a bonus! Though I had a beard and she didn't like beards, I'm relieved that I had said it was 'negotiable' as I think this is what helped me slip through onto her list of possibly compatible people. She seemed to cope OK with me being a bell ringer and liking steam trains.
After getting to know each other quite well by email, there was the anxious moment of our first phone conversation – but it was soon clear that this was going well, and the call lasted two and a half hours. After phone calls during February, I was keen to meet Linda quite quickly (partly because she would soon be going abroad for a friend's wedding, and partly because she had just had a first meeting with someone else and I didn't want to give him the opportunity to make too much progress!)
Our first meeting on March 9th 2008 was a blissful day. We walked hand in hand, leaning into a warm wind along the seafront, and we both knew we would meet again – I did still have the beard, but I think Linda accepted my story that it would have been removed the previous day, if a neighbour hadn't had a fall and I was taking him to accident and emergency when I would otherwise have been at the barber's.
It was wonderful feeling and acting like teenagers again. On our second date, Linda took me to see her school and to Canterbury where we did a lot of talking – so much that we were asked to leave two restaurants as they wanted to close! As early as our third date I met Linda's mother, and another sign we had a future together was when Linda texted me from her friend's wedding that she had just caught the bouquet!
We have had great fun planning our wedding since we got engaged on 8th July 2008. Our wedding on October 17th 2009 was such a joyful and enjoyable day for us and so many of our family and friends. There were so many thank yous said at the wedding – not least to PARSHIP for bringing us together.