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Couple in their 80s find love in retirement village

Two residents have married after meeting and falling in love at a retirement village in Keynsham.

Christopher and Rosa are residents at the St Monica Trust’s Chocolate Quarter Retirement Village. The happy couple tied the knot at the end of July, eighteen months after meeting for the first time at a coffee morning.

Recalling the moment she first set eyes on Christopher, Rosa said: “I saw him sitting by the window and I was sitting opposite. The sun was shining on him and he had these lovely yellow socks on, which seemed to almost glow in the sunshine. Then he came and sat next to me on the couch and we started talking.”

Christopher and Rosa quickly found they had a lot in common, including a love of art, the theatre, history, music and spending time in the countryside. In one of life’s strange coincidences, they also discovered that they had lived forty miles apart from each other in Zambia in the mid-60s, where Christopher worked as a mining engineer and Rosa’s husband was a teacher.

Despite a calamitous first date at a restaurant in Bath, where Rosa nearly choked on a banana leaf and getting soaked by torrential rain on the walk back to their car, they quickly became an item.

Rosa laughed: “I hadn’t been on a date for years and I thought: ‘Trust me to blow it by choking on a banana leaf like an idiot.’ Right from the start I found Christopher very easy to talk to. He’s a good listener, very observant and very responsive concerning anything we talk about – which I thought are wonderful qualities to find in a man!”

Christopher said: “I found Rosa very attractive, caring and sympathetic. We have so much in common and have been visiting all kinds of places locally together. She’s very loving too and very good at pulling me out of my occasional grumpy days.”

It was after booking a holiday together to Northern Italy that the idea of marriage came up. Chris laughed: “If I’d got down on one knee, I’d never have got up. It was a bit of a babbling proposal, but luckily Rosa laughed and said ‘yes’, so we set a date for the wedding and our holiday became our honeymoon.”

Christopher and Rosa were joined at the Bath Guildhall on their wedding day by members of both their families, followed by a celebratory meal at the Pump Room Restaurant.

Christopher said: “It was very emotional for both of us, having our children and grandchildren there and we also streamed the ceremony live to New Zealand for my family who live out there. It was a wonderful day and everything went just as we’d hoped. People were saying we shouldn’t travel together to the ceremony and arrive separately. But life’s too short to worry about all that.”

Having had their honeymoon before the wedding, Christopher and Rosa have taken an equally unconventional approach to married life when it comes to living together. Rosa said: “We’ve decided to keep our own apartments, which makes our friends laugh. I’ve got a lot of antiques that I inherited from my parents and acquired during my travels, plus all of Christopher’s belongings mean that our possessions would never fit in one apartment.”

Christopher said: “It was my naval officer son who came up with the solution. On every British warship, the captain has a day cabin and a night cabin, so we thought that was way to do it.  So at sunset you may see us migrating across the Chocolate Quarter; or late at night, if Rosa gets fed up with my snoring!”

Christopher worked as consultant in the mining industry and Rosa trained as a State Registered Nurse before moving into the Probation Service. She is a volunteer at Charterhouse Care Home and was recently presented with a St Monica Trust’s Rose Award for her services to volunteering.

Both Christopher and Rosa have family in the local area and made the decision to move into The Chocolate Quarter following the passing of their respective spouses. They put their happiness down to being outward looking and joining in with everything that living in a retirement village offers.

Christopher said: “About three months after moving in, I suddenly thought: ‘I have nothing to worry about. How wonderful! I don’t have to worry about a fence falling down, roof tiles coming off in a storm or the plumbing going wrong.

“It’s like having these loads taken off your shoulders when you move in and there’s such a relaxed air. Plus all the other positive aspects of living here: such as friendships, activities and all the facilities. It’s had a wonderful effect on both Rosa and on me.”

Rosa added: “We’ve had so much fun together and the great thing is that we spend so much of our time laughing. I used to be known as a bit a giggler in my childhood and since then I’ve never laughed so much in my life as I do now.  In fact I feel like laughing now. This is such a happy place.”

Located in the former Cadbury’s Factory, The Chocolate Quarter is home to 136 retirement apartments and a 93-bed care home, as well as facilities that are open to the public, including a café, restaurant and cinema.

Village Manager, Tara Bygrave said: “This is our first wedding at The Chocolate Quarter and all our residents and colleagues are absolutely delighted for Christopher and Rosa. We were all very excited to celebrate their special day with them and we wish them both love and happiness for their future together.”

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