A couple who moved into sheltered accommodation in their sixties fell for each other when their eyes met over the handlebars of a mobility scooter.
Trisha Green, 61, moved into Seagrave Court, an independent living scheme in Nottingham, after developing fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body – in her 50s.
After a few months of staying at the accommodation, she met former engineer Derek Icke, 67, and showed off her mobility scooter.
Derek, who has a spinal condition and uses a wheelchair, was viewing the facilities in summer 2018 and moved in shortly after.
The pair soon scooted together to a showing of Mary Poppins Returns at the local cinema for their first date.
And they’ve been inseparable ever since and even got engaged last November.
With their September wedding postponed due to Covid-19, they have now rescheduled for June 2021.
Living in London for years, where she worked as a healthcare assistant, Trisha’s symptoms got worse after her daughter moved abroad.
Trisha would be weak after falling over or have memory problems, meaning she forgot to take her medication.
She moved into a care home but missed her independence so started looking at independent living schemes.
Moving into Seagrave Court in 2018 – a care scheme offering independent living in contemporary apartments with care and support on-site – Trisha flourished.
‘I wanted to live independently again but with support if I needed it,’ she said.
‘I was very shy, but the staff helped me to come out of my shell. I set up a knitting group, learned to play the guitar, went on day trips, and to entertainment nights, where singers would perform.
‘The staff really built up my confidence.’
Derek had been diagnosed with malformation of the spine, which left him wheelchair-bound.
Finding a nursing home unsuitable, Derek came to look around Seagrave Court – landing the perfect apartment and the love of his life at the same time.
He met Trisha at the reception of the sheltered accommodation.
Trisha said: ‘The first time we met, I thought to myself, “He’s not too bad!”. From that first moment, I wanted to get to know him more. He seemed like a real gentleman.
‘We then started to play chess together. As another icebreaker, I asked him to help me with my laptop because I couldn’t get this DVD to work. It was a good excuse to talk to him, although he couldn’t fix it!’
She continued: ‘Derek lives one floor above me, so we would be in and out of each other’s apartments before the Covid-19 pandemic, when we had to stop seeing each other for a few weeks and speak over Facetime and WhatsApp.
‘We like to watch telly together and we would book a taxi and go into town to have a cup of tea or a meal. We just like spending time together.’
In November last year, they decided to get married.
‘There wasn’t a big proposal moment. It was a discussion and we both decided it was what we wanted,’ Trisha explained.
‘I think Derek was going to do a romantic proposal at Christmas, but then I saw a ring I liked, so we skipped that bit!’
Keeping to tradition, the couple will not live together until they are married, when they will move into Derek’s two-bedroom flat.
Unable to go on a honeymoon, last week they enjoyed a week-long break to the Cotswolds instead.
For Derek – who has not enjoyed a long-term relationship in the past – sheltered living has changed his life.
He said: ‘I never thought I would move here and fall in love. I think we both felt the same, it was totally unexpected.
‘We were not looking for love, but it does feel like fate. If we hadn’t been through all we have, we would never have ended up here and would not have found each other.
‘We had similar stories, in that we both ended up in hospital, then in a nursing home and then in Seagrave.
‘I love Trisha, she’s really nice in every way you can be. She’s incredibly kind.
‘We’re so happy we came together. It couldn’t be better!’
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