Couple who met through Evening Star's Lonely Hearts column still together after 25 years
PUBLISHED: 10:00 06 August 2017
It seems the Stars were aligned for Suffolk couple Gary and April Bennett.
In August 1992, April was flicking through the Lonely Hearts column of this newspaper when Gary’s advert caught her eye.
“I think he was just looking for someone with a good sense of humour who could cheer him up,” April said. “I was sitting with my son and said ‘we could cheer him up, couldn’t we?’ and that’s what I replied.”
The process was a far cry from today’s fast paced digital dating world.
April, 58, had to send her response to the then-named Evening Star’s office with Gary’s personalised “box number” on the front, before it was posted on by our staff.
Gary, whose brother Steven had placed the appeal the paper, was keen to write back, but there was a problem - April didn’t leave any contact details.
His only option was to print another appeal in the Star asking for April to get in touch and, luckily, she saw it.
After wasting away “hours and hours” speaking over the phone, the pair finally met at April’s home, where Gary took it upon himself to replace a plug on her “dodgy kettle”.
From there, a romance bloomed.
Gary, who runs his own business, GJ Bennett Groundwork, admitted: “As soon as I met her I knew she was the one - I have always liked blondes.”
The pair both have their own children of similar age. April is mother to Daniel, 37, and Gemma, 35, while Gary is father to Kaylea, 35, and Sam, 33.
After two months Gary proposed, but April wanted to hold out a bit longer while their youngsters adjusted.
The couple were married in September 1999 in Gretna Green, Scotland, and in that year the Star ran an article telling their story, with the headline: ‘We play cupid’.
They now have seven grandchildren and for the past 16 years they have lived in a bungalow in Trimley St Martin. April was raised in Felixstowe while Gary hails from Stradbroke.
Gary, 56, said: “If it weren’t for my brother we wouldn’t be together. I wouldn’t have put anything in the paper, I’m a bit nervous. I always thank him for doing it.”
When asked if he thought fate brought them together, Gary said: “That must have been I suppose.”
Reflecting on the past 25 years, April, a commercial assistant, added: “We have had our ups and downs like any couple, but nothing could split us up. All things are good so we just want to say thank you to the paper.”