The flour of love: Teenage lovers back together 20 years later after chance meeting in a bakery
20:10 GMT, 25 September 2012
A couple who split up 20 years ago have got married after a chance meeting in a bakery.
Confectioner Claire Woodward, 37, had not seen former boyfriend Gary Statham since they broke up in 1990 until her employer sent her to work in a different shop for the day.
Claire, who works for Birds the Confectioners and is normally based at the Park Farm branch in Allestree, Derby, had been asked to cover holiday leave at the store in Sutton-in-Ashfield, where Gary works as an estate agent.
Claire Woodward and Gary Statham on their wedding day- they met again by chance at a bakery after splitting up 20 years ago
When 40-year-old Gary walked in to buy a filled cob for his lunch he recognised his former girlfriend immediately and the chance meeting led to love for the couple, all over again.
The pair, who live in Swanwick, tied the knot at Swanwick Church and held their wedding reception at Shottle Hall.
Claire said: 'It really was a one-in-a-million chance of bumping into each other. I was literally only working in that shop for one day.
'If I’d not been sent to the Sutton branch we might never have met again. I think fate definitely played a hand in getting us back together.
'I recognised Gary’s voice before I actually saw him and I couldn’t believe it was him. We went out for about a year, but I was a few years younger than Gary and eventually we just drifted apart and lost contact.
The lovebirds dated for a year and Claire's mother was always a fan, now they are happily married
'My mum was really, really happy when we got back together because she’d always liked Gary and even though 20 years had passed she compared all my other boyfriends to him.'
In the 20 years they were apart Gary had married and divorced – although on the day they were reunited Claire, who was single, assumed he was still married.
When she told a friend about the chance meeting and found out he was single again, Claire dropped a letter off at Gary’s estate agency asking him out on a date.
The pair tied the knot at Swanwick Church and held their wedding reception at Shottle Hall
They moved in together a year after their reunion and then tied the knot with Gary’s seven-year-old son, Toby, as a pageboy and his daughter, Lois, and Claire’s sister, Laura, both 12, bridesmaids.
Gary said: 'When Claire and I went out the first time she kept dropping me because she was too busy going out and having a good time. It seems the time wasn’t right first time round but we’ve made up for lost time now.
'When I saw her that day in Birds I honestly didn’t think she looked that different – she’s always been beautiful to me. I definitely got more than a filled cob that day – I ended up with a wife.
'We had an amazing wedding day at the beautiful Shottle Hall, surrounded by our family and friends. Now it feels as if we are moving into the third stage of our relationship.'
The couple had a wonderful day with all their friends and family and say it feels like they have moved into the third stage of their relationship