Cupid’s arrows can strike at any moment and from any angle. Three women who found love when they least expected it tell the heart-warming stories of their romance...
IT was bonfire night when Beth Stout’s love life took off like a rocket.
She wasn’t expecting it to. Particularly not at the dying embers of a Guy Fawkes party she’d just turned up to.
The fireworks had finished, the food had all been eaten and almost all the guests had gone.
The youth worker wasn’t the only one to arrive too late, though. Just as she was thinking up a polite exit strategy, in through the door she was planning to make a swift exit from bounded a penniless Manchester student musician and his bandmates.
They had been playing at a gig in Scunthorpe and thought they’d call into the 2010 Sheffield party on their way back to Manchester.
“I didn’t really take much notice of Dave; we had a brief chat, I left and thought nothing of it,” remembers Beth, now director of Golddigger Trust, a Sheffield youth work charity specialising in working with young people at risk of sexual exploitation.
But Dave Stout had other ideas. He’d extracted enough information to track Beth down on Facebook the next day.
“I only replied to be polite, but he persevered and we struck up a conversation,” she recalls. “We started texting, then talking on Skype and he came over to Sheffield for a date. I really liked him.”
Within a week, though, Beth was wondering what on earth she’d let herself in for.
“He asked me to marry him. I couldn’t believe it. We’d only met a fortnight before. I told him it was way too early, he couldn’t possibly meant it so soon and that we should take some time to get too know each other.”
Just three months later, though, she was eating her words. Dave, 25, proposed again and she accepted. “We’d only known each other a few months, but the relationship just felt so right. When you know, you know, they say. And we did. It sounds cheesy but we feel like we complete each other.”
The pair wed at Ecclesall Parish Church last September, just ten months after that chance meeting.
Says 23-year-old Beth: “If I had left the Bonfire Party earlier, I’d have missed meeting the love of my life.”
IT was yet another Bridget Jones-style sad singleton moment.
She was single and her 31st birthday was looming; was she every going to find true love?
Allie Langham was having a girly heart-to-heart with best friend Carolyn Foreman, relationship confidant, counsellor and shoulder to cry on for several years. And suddenly, Carolyn did what every single woman wishes her best friend would do; she plucked the perfect man out of her address book.
It had dawned on Carolyn that she could play match-maker to not one, but two of her close friends whom love seemed to have eluded.
“I had a great life - I was living in London and flying all over the world for the luxury travel industry,” says Allie. “But I didn’t have a great love life.
“I was seriously getting to the stage where I thought I was never going to meet the right partner when Carolyn suddenly had this light-bulb moment,” recalls Allie, “She said: “Oh my God, why didn’t I think of this before?”
The next thing I knew, I was getting copied into an email she had also sent to Chris, her friend from university days who worked for ICI in Liverpool. It said: “Allie, this is Chris - Chris, this is Allie... Over to you.” “
They hit it off in a flurry of emails and texts, made a pact not to exchange photographs “so that we didn’t have any preconceived ideas about one another.”
After several months of typing modern-day versions of the love letters courting couples messages penned to each other in centuries-past, they talked on the phone and set up a blind date.
The pair were to meet on the Thames Embankment for a trip on the London Eye.
Says Allie, 42: “By the time we reached the top of the Millennium Wheel I’d realised I’d met the man I was going to marry.”
“We spent the first year of our relationship travelling up and down the country to be together. And on a holiday in the Maldives, Chris got down on bended knee and asked me to be his wife.
“How could I refuse. He was the man of my dreams, we were meant for each other - and I had already decided on that first blind date that I was going to marry him anyway.”
Within five months they were wed, with Carolyn, their match-maker and mutual friend, in a starring role as the chief bridesmaid. Within weeks they moved to Sheffield and within seven months, Allie was expecting their first child Max, now eight.
They now have Ruby, four, and work together, too. They run their own portrait photography business, Chrysalis, based at Dunston Hole Farm, Chesterfield.
To complete the picture, Carolyn, the woman without whom they would never have met a decade ago, is still one of their closest friends.
DENISE Nosrati’s fax fell into the wrong hands - but they turned out to belong to her Mr Right.
It’s seven years ago since the divorced Chesterfield mum of two pressed send on a quick thank you message intended for a colleague at another branch of Travelodge... And found herself blushing with embarrassment when the phone rang moments later.
Her message, to thank a workmate for leaving an ice cream for her in the staff room that hot summer evening, had read: ‘Wow, thank you. I really enjoyed that.’
Only, it went not to her kind colleague’s desk at the Travelodge where he’d just started his shift. It went to a Doncaster branch a few miles away.
“I picked up the phone and a male voice said: ‘What was it you just enjoyed so much - and why are you thanking ME?’ I was so embarrassed. The message had been totally innocent, but to a total stranger, it sounded pretty smutty.”
But as the conversation went on, something clicked. And when she was on duty the next night, Travelodge shift manager Paul Kay rang again - this time for a chat. They swapped mobile numbers and talked every day, often for hours, before meeting up for a date several weeks later.
“The moment I saw him, I knew I’d met my soul-mate,” says Denise, Cautiously, some months on, she introduced him to her young sons, now ten and 12. To her joy, they hit it off. She recalls with pride how, on holiday a year later, one of her boys whispered, “Mum, do you think Paul would mind if I called him dad?”
It was Paul, 40, who gave her the confidence to become a fully-qualified sports hypnotherapist when she expressed an interest after hypnotherapy helped her to stop smoking. She now assists top sports professionals and amateurs alike at her Innervision practice, which has consulting rooms in Ecclesall Road and London’s Harley Street.
Seven years on, Denise says: “I often thank my lucky stars. If I hadn’t sent that fax to the wrong office, or if Paul hadn’t been curious enough to find out what it was all about, we wouldn’t be together now. I really believe we were meant to be.”