They were born at opposite ends of the country.
But fate made sure newlyweds Christine Lenihan and James Forbes would one day meet and fall in love.
They found each other online and unlike the hundreds of miles between their birth places of Wick in Scotland, where James grew up, and Christine’s home town of Plymouth, they were ironically living just a street apart in Bispham.
Christine, 54, a pharmacy dispenser, said: “We met through an Internet dating agency and we were chatting online.
“I asked James where in Bispham he lived and he told me he lived in Toronto. I was texting my daughter at the same time. When I told her he lived in Toronto, she replied ‘mum, don’t you think that’s a bit far for a date? But I meant Toronto Avenue!”
Christine asked James which part of the street he lived on and quickly realised he was just round the corner from her home.
After a few text exchanges, they decided to use flashlights from their back windows to see how far away from each other they were.
The lights flashed and the couple were suprised to find that they were actually neighbours and their gardens backed on to each other.
“We can’t believe that we lived at opposite ends of each others back gardens for 16 years before we met,” said Christine.
“James asked me to meet him at the end of the road - it was coming up to midnight but I eventually agreed.
“I told my daughter what I was going to do and told her I would be back shortly. I wore a coat zipped up to my nose and wore trainers in case I had to make a quick getaway!
“We walked and talked for a bit and got on really well so we arranged to meet the following Sunday.
“When I got home I told my daughter all was fine but she wasn’t happy that I’d gone out to meet a total stranger and especially at that time of night.
“A bit of role- reversal and I was sure in the wrong!”
A long car drive on that first date, talking for hours on end, sparked a true romance which lead to an engagement last year.
The couple couldn’t wait to plan their wedding and enjoyed visiting wedding fayres, looking for the perfect venue and ideas for their big day.
“My daughter Shelly phoned me one Monday morning to say that there was a Wedding Fayre at Ferrari’s in Longridge,” said Christine, “When we arrived, we were made to feel so welcome and so special. Everyone we met made the wedding experience exciting. We booked Ferraris as our wedding venue that night and we also ordered our cake and booked a magician!”
They tied the knot at St Anne’s Church in Singleton on March 31.
The sun was shining and the church bells were ringing as Christine and her son Michael, who gave her away, arrived at the church.
They walked down the aisle to Canon in D for a lovely service lead by Martin Keighley.
The vicar and everyone joined in when Christine and James left the church to the poignant Proclaimers song I Would Walk 500 miles!
James and his brother Raymond, who was best man, wore Spirit of Scotland kilts specially hired from a kilt shop in Wick. The table runners incorporated the Spirit of Scotland tartan in them and as James is a Celtic supporter, Christine surprised him with a green vintage wedding car.
Christine was delighted with the reception at Ferrari's.
She said: “The staff were so welcoming and couldn’t do enough for us.
“The meal was fantastic and Andy the DJ had everyone up on the dance floor.
“The cake was amazing and Ashley, our photographer did a brilliant job at organising people and shots and we have some awesome photos!
“Our two youngest grandchildren, Lilly and Lewis made a lovely couple and stole the show several times.
“Seeing our friends and family old and new, who had come to celebrate our special day was overwhelming. We had such a fantastic day and we would like to thank everyone involved for making it so special and hope they enjoyed it as much as we did.”