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BBQ planning sparks romance for two Dawlish residents

Wendy Bristow, 77 and Peter D’silva, 63 celebrate engagement

Two Dawlish residents, whose love blossomed as they arranged a BBQ at their retirement development, will host an engagement party on Saturday 23 October and plan to marry next month.

Wendy Bristow, 77 and Peter D’silva, 63, had given up on finding love in later life, only to realise that love was on the cards after collaborating on a BBQ for residents and their families at Brooklands in Dawlish. Brooklands is an independent living retirement development managed by FirstPort and has 44 properties.

Born in Surrey during the Blitz, and more recently living in Rochester in Kent, Wendy decided to make the move to Brooklands in December 2020 to be closer to her family and to carry on with her work at a Healing Ministry. Peter has also been involved in missions in the UK, Ukraine and Romania, which included Healing miracles.

Wendy first noticed Peter, who is originally from Wimbledon and moved to Brooklands in July 2020, through her lounge window as he fixed his car. When she went out to offer help, they spent time talking and bonded over shared interests, including a love for sailing.

Both have dealt with struggles during their life. Wendy lived in an orphanage from the age of six to 10 and recalls not having the luxury of knowing what family life was like. Peter has also struggled in recent years, finding the COVID lockdown period particularly lonely.

After their first meeting, they would meet up regularly and share a coffee in the communal garden, but it wasn’t until the BBQ that sparks flew.

Peter recalls “Because of lockdown the development hadn’t had their annual BBQ for three years, so everyone was keen to make this one bigger and better. Both Wendy and I volunteered to help with me leading on arranging the music and Wendy the drinks and decorations. We quickly realised we worked well as a team.”

He adds “Part of me died in lockdown, not seeing anyone except for work colleagues. I felt like I didn’t have anything to live for. Then Wendy came along she was like a defibrillator giving me that shock – a new purpose and focus in life.”

Two days after the BBQ the couple went for a walk along the sea front, which they both describe as ‘magical’ as it is then they realised they were falling in love. Not long after, Peter proposed in Wendy’s flat with a backdrop of classic love songs, picked by Peter.

FirstPort Development Manager, Tracey Wright said: “Our fellow residents at Brooklands are delighted for Peter and Wendy and it will be so special to all celebrate their engagement together. We have noticed changes in other residents too, people becoming more aware of their needs and forming news friendships, which is lovely to see.”

Plans for the wedding are now in full swing for late November when Wendy’s grandson will walk her down the aisle.

Wendy concludes: “Peter is patient, kind, loving romantic and a good listener. He cares about my safety and wants to protect me. We laugh a lot. I wish we’d met when we were younger, but I very much look forward to our future together.”