An OAP couple, who met in sheltered housing after losing their partners, have now tied the knot – after they bonded over a jigsaw.
Rachel Monger, 80, and Joe Williams, 84, met at Manor House in Bromborough, Wirral, last year and fell in love at first sight when they started chatting in a communal area over a puzzle.
Joe had recently moved into the sheltered development, run by Alpha Living, after losing his partner of 22 years Margaret, in July 2018.
After three months of courting, Joe popped the question to Rachel, who was previously married to husband Anthony for 41 years, before he died in December 2016, on Valentine’s Day this year with a stylish ring encrusted with three diamonds.
The newlyweds are celebrating finding love, later in life, after they tied the knot at Bromborough Methodist Church on Saturday in a relaxed ceremony surrounded by 50 friends and family.
Rachel Monger, 80 and Joe Williams, 84 tied the knot on Saturday after meeting on a sheltered housing in July 2018 in Bromborough, Wirral. Pictured on their wedding day
The happy couple got married after three months of dating, after Joe popped the question on Valentine’s Day
Rachel and Joe hugging in Bromborough, Wirral. Rachel said she immediately was attracted to Joe
Retired social worker Rachel, originally from Calne, Wiltshire, said: ‘When I first saw Joe, he had come round to Manor House to view flats and I thought “wow, he’s attractive.”
‘After he had moved in, one day I was doing a jigsaw in the common room on Remembrance Sunday – which is quite an overwhelming day for us both because we remember and reflect on our lives.
‘Joe had stepped out of the lift looking upset so I told him to sit down with me and we bonded straight away.
‘He asked me out for a meal a month later and we soon realised that we had been making eyes at each other for a while!
The happy couple celebrating following their union on Saturday. Rachel shunned tradition and wore a raspberry-coloured dress for the occasion
Joe said his relationship with Rachel was beautiful because they got on so well and were very much in love. Picture during the wedding
Enjoying a glass of wine on a night out. The couple kept the engagement a secret for a week, but said their family and friends were ‘over the Moon’ once they told them
You may kiss the bride! The couple were beaming when they exited the church yesterday, immediately stopping for a kiss
‘We found out that we had common ground because both our partners had recently died, but we also enjoyed singing, dancing, and going to church so it all fell into place.’
Joe, a retired nuclear power station foreman, popped the question just three months later after the couple’s relationship went from strength to strength.
Joe, originally from Blaneau Ffestiniog, Wales, said: ‘We had a meal in our flat on Valentine’s Day this year and I’d decorated everywhere with roses and candles.
‘I got down on one knee with a ring and asked Rachel to marry me – she said yes, and that it was what she had been waiting for!
‘I’d describe our relationship as beautiful because we just get on so well and we are both very much in love.’
The bride and groom both decided to keep their engagement news a secret from their family and fellow residents at Manor House for one week, but when they made the big announcement everyone was over the moon.
Rachel picked out a short raspberry-coloured dress for the day – eschewing the traditional white – and her son, Ivor, gave her away in front of her family – which includes four children, seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren
Rachel, pictured arriving at the church on her wedding day, said ‘go for it if the opportunity to find new love at a later age presents itself’
Joe and Rachel planned their nuptials as a relaxed family affair with 50 people present.
Rachel picked out a short raspberry-coloured dress for the day – eschewing the traditional white – and her son, Ivor, gave her away in front of her family – which includes four children, seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
The bridal party included two of Rachel’s great grandchildren as flower girls, and the bride and groom were surprised with a traditional wedding cake at the reception.
Joe sported a smart grey suit during the big day, with his two daughters, three grandchildren and one great grandchild attending.
Now that the wedding bells have rung, the new Mr and Mrs Williams are looking forward to their honeymoon in Eastbourne, West Sussex, next month and have also planned fother holidays to the dancing and singing capitals of the UK – Blackpool, Ireland, the Isle of Wight and Scotland.
The loved-up couple, who were previously married for a combined 63 years between them, hope their story will inspire others to keep searching for love later on in life.
Joe and Rachel exchanged a sweet kiss during their wedding ceremony this Saturday, in front of 50 family and friends
Joe said that after both losing their partners, Rachel and him felt ready to start a life of their own. pictured during the ceremony
Joe said: ‘Once you’ve moved into sheltered accommodation you should keep in mind that you’re not tied down.
‘Rachel and I were in the same predicament because we had both lost our partners and thought it was a good time to have a new life of our own.’
Rachel added: ‘I’d say go for it if the opportunity to find new love at a later age presents itself.
Joe could not hide his emotions as she prepared to marry his bride just over a year after meeting her
The two pensioners sitting down with their pastor during the wedding as they signed the register yesterday
The bridal party included two of Rachel’s great grandchildren as flower girls (pictured), and the bride and groom were surprised with a traditional wedding cake at the reception
‘You never know what might happen, and in our case it’s ended up so lovely and we’re very happy.’
Debbie O’Shaughnessy, Development Manager at Alpha Living, which runs Manor House, said: ‘We are all absolutely over the moon to see Rachel and Joe take such a special step in their relationship.
‘They both epitomise exactly what we strive for at Alpha – to create homes for people to thrive, remain independent and enjoy life.
‘Our whole team and all the residents at Manor House send our huge congratulations and well wishes to the happy couple on their big day. We’re looking forward to the celebrations!’
Smiling on a date in Wirral. The two love birds said they bonded over a jigsaw puzzle during their time at the shelter
Flowers and rice for the happy couple on their way out of the church. They will honeymoon in Eastbourne, West Sussex
The two love birds during their wedding ceremony yesterday. When they finally started dating, Rachel said the couple realised they had been giving each other the eye for a while
The couple of OAPs on an outing together. Rachel admitted she immediately found Joe attractive following their meeting