A popular elderly couple in the Harrogate district are proving romance can blossom at any age by getting married in a very public - and fun - ceremony.
Having spent each of their lives caring for other people, former vicar Chris Stark, 81, and health visitor Olive Moyses, 75, plan to tie the knot in period costume as part of Pateley Bridge’s 40s weekend.
In a whirlwind romance, Chris, who received the MBE with his late wife in 2006, only went out with Olive for the first time less than a year ago.
Chris, who lives in Summerbridge, said: “It’s fair to say our romance has moved rapidly. Neither of us are spring chickens.
“I asked her out at the end of August to a brass band concert. At the end we walked out hand-in-hand and we haven’t looked back since.
“Olive’s a really lovely, kind person and has always done a lot for other people.
“She’s got a great sense of humour, we laugh a lot together. And we both love animals, especially cats and dogs.”
As if age was no impediment to living life to the full, this happy couple are both still very active.
Though he retired a long time ago to become a full-time carer, Chris still takes quite a few services in Pateley Bridge while Olive, from Fellbeck, is still a farm ‘girl’, still does the lambing, and also provides hospital transport for neighbours without cars.
Although Olive has never been married before, July’s ceremony at Pateley Bridge Methodist Church will not be Chris’s first trip down the aisle.
He was married for many years to Katie, who, in a rare move, also shared the MBE with him for their incredible devotion to fostering more than 20 youngsters over several decades.
Sadly, Katie died five years ago but she already knew, and liked, Olive.
Chris said: “I first met Olive in 1983. She was a local girl. I was a Methodist minister and she was a church steward.
“We worked together a lot at the youth club in Fellbeck for farm children.
“She also nursed her mother and brother and father through terminal care. I had the sad job of officiating at funerals.
“Katie and Olive knew each other and valued each other.
“When I told my daughter before Christmas that I had got engaged to Olive, she said “mum would have approved.”
As for how they came to decide to get married as part of a fun weekend of 1940s nostalgia, the current minister of Pateley Bridge Methodist Church, the Rev Mike Poole, has a hand in that story.
Chris said: “When myself and Olive were thinking about a date for the wedding, Mike said he’d like to have a real wedding at the church for 40s Weekend for a change.
“In previous years, it’s been a case of couples renewing their vows in the Methodist Church, which is a nice church.
“It’s also Olive’s local church and it’s the place she wanted to get married in.”
But there is another reason for the choice of date and venue.
The annual 40s Weekend which takes place on July 28-29, is a very important fixture in Pateley Bridge’s calendar and the couple were keen to give something back to the community they love so much.
Chris said: “We’re both very sure of our feelings for each other.
“We wanted to help Mike out but, more than that, we both think Pateley Bridge is a great community and it’s always supported us.
“The 40s Weekend is an opportunity for us to give something back.”
The couple are not entirely sure yet what costumes they will wear on the big day but Chris has at least one idea.
A former naval chaplain for many years in places such as Faslane Nuclear Base, he never actually served on a boat.
“The navy is a bit short of ships nowadays”, Chris explains.