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Online couple’s first Valentine’s Day since they wed

Anchor residents Ray and Kath Walker are looking forward to their first Valentine’s Day together since they got married last year – having met online in 2017.

The happy couple are now residents at Anchor’s The Moorings housing location in Stone, Staffordshire, but when they met on a dating site for the over 55s, they were living very different lives.

They instantly made a connection and also discovered they had in common being widowed after the sad deaths of long-term spouses.

But Ray was in Coventry and Kath was in Bolton. Could it work? However, after both of them talked to family, they took the decision that distance should not be a barrier to love.

After talking online for several months, they had their first date in October 2017 at the Staffordshire stately home Shugborough Hall. They walked around the grounds, admired the livestock, had coffee and cake and a tour of the house.

As they walked around the estate, there were many other courting couples holding hands so Ray bit the bullet and asked Kath permission to hold hers and their tender bond went from strength to strength from that moment on.

Kath said: “It went really quickly but because of the distance, we had to wait two weeks for our next date at Trentham Gardens. If we’d lived closer, it would have been much sooner.”

After travelling up and down the country to meet and talking daily, they decided they wanted to move halfway between their respective families and decided on the picturesque market town of Stone – not far from Shugborough where they had their first date.

They looked at a couple of properties but decided Anchor’s The Moorings was right for them. The location was great as their apartment overlooks the canal and there are beautiful south facing gardens. Kath said: “When I first came to live here, I felt like I was on holiday, and I still feel like that today.”

Ray had not owned a passport till 2014 but since they moved in together, he and Kath have loved travelling abroad and have now been to Australia, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Florida and they will be going to Cyprus in April.

However, he became quite ill on holiday in Lanzarote and realised that life is too short and nothing can be taken for granted. So Ray, now 79, and Kath, now 78, got married on July 20th last year, celebrating their wedding with their friends in the gardens at The Moorings and actually having their first dance.

Kath had been on a trip to visit family in Australia after the passing of her husband and joined the online dating site when she returned after six months away.

She had enjoyed a varied working life, including working as a telephonist, an usherette, a welder and a delivery driver before becoming an Auxiliary Health Care Worker, a Pupil Nurse and ultimately finding her calling as a staff nurse in coronary care for 25 years.

Ray had been married for 49 years when his wife suddenly died. He found life hard without her and at 73 he was still working in his lifelong job as a toolmaker at the same factory to try and deal with loneliness.

He joined a local bereavement group which really helped and he reduced his working hours. Once he met Kath and they moved in together in Stone, he finally retired in January 2023.

Anchor’s The Moorings is a leasehold estate of 65 flats designed for independent living for the over 55s.

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