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I thought I'd never find love again; AS Coronation Street's Jack Duckworth prepares to start a new relationship a year after losing his beloved Vera, Claire Rees spoke to two couples who've found love despite bereavement.

Byline: Claire Rees

HEATHER and Charlie are not ashamed to admit they feel like a pair of teenagers in love.

The couple say they share the same lively sense of humour, are preparing to marry with a party for more than 100 this summer, and even got engaged by text.

For Heather Thompson, 62, it means she has finally found someone to share her days with after tragedy saw her become a widow aged 42 - when her husband Hugh collapsed with a heart attack and died whilst playing golf.

"Hugh had been the love of my life and I thought I'd never find love again," said Heather of We nvoe, a part-time secretary for an architects' firm.

"I thought I'd always have a void in my life that would never be filled."

Charlie Kinsey's wife Sue died of lung cancer three years ago and the windows fabricator lived in the same village.

The 61-year-old played golf with Heather's husband and was two holes behind him when he died 20 years ago, aged just 44.

"We used to say hello in passing and I knew Charlie's wife," said Heather.

"I wanted to fill my life more so I began playing golf and Colin asked me to play in a mixed game.

"When I assured him I was hopeless he offered to help me practise."

The games of nine holes soon turned to dinners out, and, by October 2007, the pair were a couple - and, said Heather: "We just fell in love."

And Charlie's unusual proposal last August was typical of the young-at-heart couple who say they are a bad in fluence on each other thanks to their love of good food and a good drink.

"He sent me a text message with a picture of a bride and groom," said Heather, whose relatives describe her as a 'party nan'.

"I responded by saying - 'if that's a proposal, then yes!' "But I didn't let him off the hook - a month later he eventually got down on one knee in a vineyard and did it properly - it was difficult because of a motorbike accident he'd had years ago but he did it!

"That day we set the date."

The couple will marry in front of 130 at St Mary's Church, Wenvoe, where their spouses are both buried, this August, in a partnership which Heather says both would have approved.

Charlie, a dad-of-two, said: "We both had very happy marriages.

"After my wife died I said I'd never go through that again - but even if you've been through that, there's someone out there for everybody.

"People ask me why I want to get married again, but I love Heather and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. She just ticks all the boxes - it's lovely."

Now Heather, a mother-of-two with three grandchildren, says the only problem is finding a wedding outfit.

"All the bridal magazines are geared towards younger brides," she said.

"Idon'twanttolooklikea20-year-old in a meringue dress but I don't want to look like a mother-of-the-bride either!"

Heather, who has even promised her sisters that if they travel from Papua New Guinea and New Zealand for the wedding they don't have to go to her funeral, added: "The strange thing is, falling in love at 60 is no different from falling in love at 16.

"I still want to hold his hand, I still get the flippy tummy when I see him and we still give each other a wink when we think nobody's looking.

"I feel so loved and in love."

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Charlie Kinsey and Heather Thompson have found love together after both their partners passed away PICTURE: Peter Bolter
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 26, 2009
Words:612
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