A retired couple who met each other online are hoping to share their amorous experiences in a tell-all book, to dispel myths that life has to slow down once you hit retirement age. Elizabeth Brownlow, 62, and John Hesselworth, 64, first met on an online dating website, OKCupid, last August.
Elizabeth, who has had two previous long-term relationships, was spurred on by her daughter, who helped set up her online profile. The mum-of-three said: “After my last relationship broke down, I was adamant that I didn’t want to live with anyone else and definitely didn’t want to get married again, but online dating looked fun, so I just thought, ‘why not?’.” After a failed marriage, Elizabeth was keen to reinvent herself, including dying her hair in a varity of different colours and using an alias name on her profile. The grandmother-of-two, said: “I opted for the name Beth as it was different, but similar to my name too.”
After a few “interesting” local dates, Elizabeth decided to look further afield and came across John’s profile, as Jonny Libertine. Describing himself on his profile as an eccentric character, John, who used to live in London before moving into Elizabeth’s home in Worcester Drive, Grantham, two weeks ago, also shared how he enjoys practicing knife and tomahawk throwing, fire eating/breathing and performance whip cracking. He also has a passion for burlesque and circus acts and said he was looking for someone to “have an unconventional adventure” with.
Elizabeth, who retired from being a primary school teacher two years ago, said: “I saw his profile and just thought ‘wow, I’ve got to know more’.” After exchanging a few messages, the couple met at London King’s Cross station last September. At 5ft 2ins, Elizabeth was worried that she would look “mismatched” next to John’s 6ft-plus frame, but any concerns soon disappeared as soon as they met. She said: “We clicked straight away. We went to a pub and he started stroking my arm and I just knew.”
Within weeks, the couple, who describe themselves as ‘not your average couple,’ were already planning their around-the-world trip. John, who worked in social care until his retirement in September, proposed outside Grantham’s The Range two days after Christmas last year and they were married at Barrowby church on Saturday, in front of 130 of their friends and family in a daring red wedding dress that Elizabeth bought for £10 in a charity shop. Although Elizabeth has been married before, it is John’s first marriage. He said: “I wasn’t entirely anti-marriage but I just never saw the point of it, but all of a sudden I did.” Keen to inpsire others their age, the devoted couple are working on a book about what sex and marriage is like once you hit your sixties. John said: “A lot of people reach their sixties and thinks that’s it, it’s pipe and slippers time. But there is a life out there if you want to reach out and take it. The book has a double meaning. We are old enough to remember what it was like growing up in the sixties when it was all free love and we are now in our sixties, so we can recall both experiences.”
Elizabeth added: “We want to inspire people and let them know that you don’t have to settle for comfortable sex, and not a lot of it, just because you are a certain age. We have the most active sex life than we have ever had.” Elizabeth smiled: “John bought me a plaque, which read, ‘You are only young once but you can be immature forever.’ Thats exactly what we intend to do as we embark on the next chapter of our lives.”