Finding love at Keynsham retirement village

A COUPLE in their 80s have married after falling in love at a Keynsham retirement village.

Christopher and Rosa, who live at the St Monica Trust retirement village in the Chocolate Quarter, tied the knot 18 months after meeting at a coffee morning.

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 found they had a lot in common, including a love of art, the theatre, history, music and spending time in the countryside.

They also discovered they had lived 40 miles apart from each other in Zambia in the mid-1960s, 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 they got soaked by torrential rain on the walk back to their car, they quickly became an item.

Rosa said: “Right from the start I found Christopher very easy to talk to. He’s a good listener, very observant and very responsive.”

Christopher said: “I found Rosa very attractive, caring and sympathetic. We have so much in common.

“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 said: “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.

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: “As well as keeping our own names, we’ve also 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.

Both Christopher and Rosa decided to move into the Chocolate Quarter following the passing of their respective spouses.

Rosa said: “We’ve had so much fun together and the great thing is that we spend so much of our time laughing. This is such a happy place.”

Retirement 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.”