When grieving 71-year-old pensioner Almeda Errell, went to pay her last respects at her son’s funeral, the last thing she expected to find was love.
But after a whirlwind three-week romance, she and Gary Hardwick – now 18, tied the knot in a ceremony which he arranged for just £137 in six days.
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Later, on their wedding night, they had sex for the first time.
Gary who had previously dated a woman of 77 said Almeda, really is his dream woman.
“It was wonderful, beyond my wildest dreams. She really is my dream woman and the physical side of our relationship couldn’t be better.”
The new love birds are now sharing Almeda’s house with one of her grandsons who is three years OLDER than her new husband.
“I wasn’t looking for a young man, but Gary just came along. I just knew straight away that he was the one,” Almeda said.
Her happiness at their meeting was in stark contrast to the lonely despair the mother-of-four had endured after being widowed and then losing her eldest son Robert, 45, after a seizure.
“I’d been married to my first husband Donald for 43 years, and so when he died in 2013 after seven months in hospital from complications with diabetes, I found myself on my own.
“I’d turn up for work in tears and my colleagues would ask me what was wrong. Deep down, I was searching for a soulmate.”
Having to cope with her son’s failing health and eventual death was tough and devastating but meeting Gary at her son’s funeral changed everything for Almeda as she was not going to be alone again.
Gary, whose attraction to older women started with a crush on a teacher at the age of eight, said he had also been in turmoil, feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship with his 77-year-old lover.
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We were always fighting,’ said Gary. “I fell into depression and was looking for a way out.”
That’s when Lisa, his aunt, invited him to join other mourners for her husband Robert’s cremation, and the rest is history.