Couple who met through Peterborough Telegraph incorrect lonely hearts ad celebrate 25 years together
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A couple who met “quite by chance” through an incorrectly printed lonely hearts ad in the then Peterborough Evening Telegraph will soon be celebrating their silver wedding anniversary.
Sue and Mark Gooch, from Bretton, describe their meeting and subsequent getting together in 1997 as “an accidental romance” which was “meant to be.”
The pair both laughed as they recalled how Mark’s lonely hearts telephone ad – which shouldn’t have even been in the Evening Telegraph – caught Sue’s attention.
“One evening I’d just decided to look at the lonely hearts ads that were in the paper,” Sue explains, adding: “I’d always avoided them before, thinking they were full of strange people.”
On a complete whim, the customer services advisor decided to phone and leave a message on the ‘date me?’ answer phone number printed next to a profile that had caught her eye.
That man was 29-year-old Mark Gooch. What neither Mark nor Sue realised, however, is that Mark – a postman who lived in Royston and worked in Cambridge – had not wanted his lonely hearts ad to appear in Peterborough’s Evening Telegraph.
He thought he had set up his dating profile and lonely heart ad to appear in a Cambridge newspaper.
It was an admin error, either by him or the newspaper, that was to shape the rest of the pair’s lives.Although Mark was initially perplexed as to why he was receiving messages from eager women in the Peterborough area, he decided to arrange a meet with one of his potential suitors, a girl from Spalding. That girl though, who Mark rather unromantically admits was “at the top of his list,” pulled out at the last minute.
“Sue was second on my list,” he adds cheekily.
When the pair did finally chat on the phone – a week after Sue had left her initial message – something clicked. “We talked for an hour-and-a-half,” Sue said.
‘In walked this dashing guy’
Buoyed by the apparent ease of their extended phone call, the couple agreed to meet in person the following week at the Bull Hotel in Peterborough.
Sue, who arrived before Mark, recalled feeling “nervously excited” as she sat waiting for her mystery man to arrive. She remembers the postie’s arrival well.
“In walked this dashing guy with a bunch of red carnations,” she says, “and I immediately thought: ‘oh yes, he’ll do’.”
Mark, who was equally nervous, remembers feeling somewhat intimidated by the lady who would one day become his wife.
“I remember thinking ‘she’s too good for me - I’m punching above my weight here’.”
Needless to say, the pair hit it off in a big way and a whirlwind romance followed, culminating in a Caribbean wedding 18 months later.
Almost inevitably, the couple’s personal Eros – the Evening Telegraph – was waiting to greet them when they returned.
“They ran a piece on us when we came back from our wedding/honeymoon,” Sue says, giggling: “We’ve still got the cutting from the paper.”
Thinking now about their upcoming silver anniversary in the autumn, Sue and Mark are in retrospective mood
“It was meant to be,” says Sue, dreamily
“Well,” adds Mark, “if that first girl hadn’t blown me out…”