Former band mates get engaged after reuniting more than 30 years on

Music may be the food of love, but it wasn't in the air when Jennifer Simpson and Philip Ashworth first met.

Philip Ashworth and Jennifer Simpson
Philip Ashworth and Jennifer Simpson

However, the former band mates are now engaged to be married after reuniting more than 30 years later.

The couple were in the same wind band as school children, where they would rehearse at Wellesley Park Barracks, but as Jennifer recalls, there was no hint of their romance that was to follow.

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“I was very snooty and more or less ignored him,” says Jennifer, who played cornet and eventually moved away and ended up in living in Edinburgh.

Philip Ashworth and Jennifer Simpson

“I referred to him as ‘that boy’ and thought I was a far superior player.

“We sat next to each other but I didn’t like it.

“He left a Christmas card on my seat, and I just looked at it and stuffed it into my bag.

“Then when he asked me if I’d got the card, I just nodded.

“I hardly talked to him. Every time I thought about it since, I wished I could turn back the clock and say sorry because he didn’t deserve that treatment.”

“We were in the band together from 1980 to 1981,” recalls Skircoat Green resident Philip, who played trumpet, “and we bumped in to each other once in 1984, but we didn’t see each other then until 2013.

“We met again at Christmas after I was discussing family history with my best friend and his family, and we discovered that Jennifer was his cousin.

“She came to mind immediately when she was mentioned in conversation, and we emailed for 12 months or so.

“From time to time in the intervening years I had wondered what had happened to her but never would have believed we would meet up again.”

When asked what her response would have been had Philip asked her out when they were band mates, Jennifer says: “I would’ve run a mile I think!

“I would say I’ve changed a lot since then.

“We’ve both had our struggles in life, as you do, but that’s what makes you more mature and grown-up.

“He came to pick me up at my mum’s house and as soon as he walked through the door, I knew he was the man for me.

“It wasn’t a physical thing, but more the way he shook my mum’s hand, the way he was so respectful.

“I thought about it for a few months and was thinking ‘don’t be so ridiculous’ but I couldn’t shake the feeling off.

“Philip has been in Halifax all his life, whereas I’ve wondered around, but I’ve ended up back where I belong really. It’s amazing.

“He’s the most grounded, reasonable and humble person I’ve ever met.”