Meet the world's biggest Downton Abbey fan: The woman who splashed $20k on a date with Brendan Coyle
19:53 GMT, 25 May 2012
A die-hard Downton Abbey fan paid $20,000 to go on a date with the show's star Brendan Coyle.
A night with the actor, who plays butler John Bates, was up for auction with bids starting at $5,000.
But lovestruck Sandra Doshner, a 52-year-old retired medical technologist from Long Island, is so crazy about the show that she bid four times the asking price.
First date: Sandra Doshner, a 52-year-old retired medical technologist from Long Island, paid $20,000 to have an evening with Brendan Coyle
In classic rom-com style, their New York date included a ride through Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage earlier this week, where the smitten Ms Doshner reportedly read poetry to the star.
They then had pre-dinner drinks at the Time-Warner Centre before a three-hour meal at Per Se, named Manhattan's best restaurant by the New York Times, where she shared her dessert with Mr Coyle.
The auction was arranged by New York's Origin Theatre Company, an arts group devoted to discovering and nurturing 'new exciting voices' from Europe.
Lovestruck: In classic rom-com style, their date included a ride through Central Park in horse-drawn carriage
For a good cause: The auction was arranged by New York's Origin Theatre Company, an arts group devoted to discovering and nurturing new 'exciting voices' from Europe
Into the evening: The pair had pre-dinner drinks at Manhattan's Time-Warner Centre before a meal at Per Se, named New York's best restaurant by the New York Times, where she shared her dessert with him
Dashing Downton: Brendan Coyle plays butler John Bates in the series
Mr Coyle, originally from Northamptonshire, agreed put himself up for auction to raise money for the the theatre company, which also puts on the city's annual '1st Irish Theatre Festival'.
The theatre's artistic director, George Heslin, an Irishman from Limerick, has been friends with Mr Coyle since the early Nineties when they performed together on London's West End.