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How we met: ‘I saw him at his brother’s funeral and was besotted straight away’ | Life and style

Clare was 16 years previous when her schoolfriend, David, died in a bike accident. On the day of the funeral, in the summertime of 1979, she noticed Andrew, his brother, for the primary time. Though they didn’t communicate that day, it was love at first sight for Clare. “I was utterly besotted straight away. I nonetheless really feel the identical approach now,” she says.

They lived in a small village in Worcestershire, and the neighborhood was devastated by David’s demise. “It was a really traumatic time, particularly for the younger folks. We had been all so shocked by what had occurred,” says Clare. She and David’s different buddies rallied round Andrew, to guarantee that he was coping. Clare commonly cycled previous the place the place he restored previous vehicles in his spare time to say hiya. Andrew admits he “fancied her” however wasn’t positive he was able to date. “I’d seen her as soon as earlier than my brother’s accident and favored her however hadn’t thought a lot about it. After he died, the loss was rather a lot to tackle board. I was so harm,” he says.

That autumn, they met at a nightclub after a few of David’s buddies invited Andrew out. “They had been taking care of me. In any other case I might have been sitting at residence alone,” he says. He and Clare spent the night dancing collectively to Donna Summer time and Rod Stewart. “He was carrying a fetching zip-up cardigan and Oxford luggage. I assumed he seemed beautiful,” she says. Later that night, Andrew dropped Clare at residence in his MG Midget. “My mum mentioned I raved concerning the automotive greater than Andy,” she laughs. On the time she had been courting another person. “I’m unsure how blissful he was about me driving her again,” says Andrew. That relationship ended quickly after, and Andrew and Clare turned an official couple.

Andrew and Clare in 2021 with their canine, Tilly.

In 1981, they purchased a derelict cottage in a close-by village, which they hoped to dwell in after their marriage ceremony the next 12 months. It wasn’t renovated in time, in order that they spent the primary 9 months of married life residing in a caravan. “They had been the baked beans years,” laughs Clare. “We had no cash, no working water, no bathe and no bathroom. It was a take a look at of our relationship.”

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Clare joined the civil service, and later skilled as a lecturer in enterprise research, whereas Andrew joined his household’s engineering enterprise. That they had two kids, born in 1985 and 1988, and moved to their present residence in Worcestershire in 1987. Regardless of settling down very younger, neither of them had doubts. “I feel lots of people thought it wouldn’t final. However when you actually love somebody you are able to do it, no matter age you’re,” says Andrew.

Additionally they consider that dealing with the tragedy of David’s demise at a younger age helped them to face the peaks and troughs of life. “We each had hit all-time low,” says Andrew. They’ve since supported one another by additional household bereavements, together with the lack of Andrew’s mother and father within the mid-90s, and Clare’s mum in 2006. “Something that got here alongside, we handled it collectively.”

In 2004, they purchased a home in France and Andrew spent a 12 months away renovating it whereas Clare stayed within the UK. “Andy actually wanted a change and I utterly supported the thought,” she says. From renovating homes to their shared ardour for previous vehicles, the couple have “grown up collectively” and make selections as a staff. “If we don’t agree straight away, we discover plan B. We discovered a approach of sorting issues out with out rowing,” says Andrew.

They admire one another’s dedication. “She’s very sensible and we assist one another as equal companions. We see the humorous facet of issues and bounce off one another,” says Andrew. Clare agrees. “Laughter is the glue. Andy additionally has superb interior power. After I’m able to throw within the towel, he simply carries on and it retains me going.” Clare says that Andrew’s brother, David, isn’t removed from their ideas. “He introduced us collectively. We’ll all the time be grateful to him.”

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