Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Edna and Simon - Love On The First Sight

For sprightly grandmother-of-three Edna Townsend, it was definitely love at first sight. And to Simon Martin, who was still in his twenties at the time, she was the woman of his dreams.

After that fateful first meeting, the pair began dating and soon embarked on a full-blown romance with little thought for the small matter of their 39-year age difference.

Two and a half years on, the newlyweds - now aged 70 and 31 - are off on a two-week honeymoon in Cornwall, proving that sometimes love can indeed conquer all.

Last night Simon, an accomplished organ player who has been profoundly deaf since he was nine, said: "I'd never had a proper relationship before I met Edna. My life was all about music. She's turned my life upside down. She is definitely the woman of my dreams. I couldn't be more happy and don't care about the age gap."

The couple, who live together in Worle, Weston-super-Mare, met at a concert where Simon was playing the organ. Edna restores the instruments.

"I can remember exactly what happened," said Simon.

"Our mutual friend introduced us and Edna was looking very glamorous. We gave each other a big hug."

Edna said: "Coming through the stage door was this lovely man. It really was love at first sight. He is the friendliest, funniest and most beautiful man and we are very much in love."

The pair soon became inseparable and on Valentine's Day this year, Simon proposed under Weston-super-Mare pier. Edna, a retired engineer, said: "Simon swept me off my feet. When he proposed he wouldn't take no for an answer. I'm the happiest woman in the world."

Simon added: "I was really nervous but knew it was right. I got down on one knee and asked her if she would be my wife. She said 'Yes' and we kissed. It was incredibly romantic."

His family took the news well, he insists. "They were a little surprised but are delighted," he said. "They want us to be happy."

Edna admits that some people have found it hard to accept their relationship.

"We have had some strange reactions," she said. "Some women who are my age sort of sneer. But we have had total strangers say it's wonderful."

They have discussed the age gap and come to terms with the fact that they can never have children and grandchildren, she said.

Their 'artistic temperaments' mean the age gap doesn't matter, they insist. The couple married last Friday at their local register office, with a ' Roaring Twenties' themed reception at the Curzon Cinema in nearby Clevedon.

Fred Smedley, chairman of the West of England Theatre Organ Society, acted as chauffeur for the day.

He said: "The age gap between the two has been talked about around here but everyone is absolutely delighted. They are a lovely couple and it's just fantastic they have decided to spend their lives together."

He added: "Simon is gifted with the organ. He's an excellent player. He's not as deaf as Beethoven, but we don't think he can actually hear the majority of the stuff he plays."

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