Never too late for love …

More than half a century after they first met, Gail Chipperfield,75, and Tony Monson,78, tied the knot in style at the Queens Hotel.

They first met when Tony was celebrating his 24th birthday and Gail was just 21-years-old. The couple spent four good years together and then sadly parted.

Top Tips

  • Be creative with elements such as the table plan. Gail and Tony used vinyl singles to reflect Tony's career as a DJ and orange and black was the colour theme.

  • Remember our events team is there to help and they can draw on many years of experience to ensure your day is truly memorable

Gail takes up the story: “A year later I met my first husband David and we were married for a long time.

“Over the years Tony and I were aware of each other and Tony, who works as a DJ, did a couple of discos for me – once in 1981 when we had a street party to mark Charles and Di’s wedding and then for my husband’s 40th birthday party in 1983 and that was the last time I saw him.”

Life went on for both of them. Tony married in 2003 and two years later sadly Gail’s husband died.

“In 2009 Tony’s first wife died and I emailed him to say how sorry I was to hear the news. 

“Then in January 2020, Tony emailed me to say a mutual friend had died and that led to a few emails going back and forth between us.

“Eventually I asked if he would like to meet up and we had a really nice time,” she recalled.

A weekend together in Southsea was planned before Gail travelled to America but Covid struck and lockdown made it impossible to meet-up. They kept in touch by phone every night and on one memorable occasion they chatted for three hours straight.

Their feelings for each were re-ignited and when the couple could finally meet again in June 2020, romance had blossomed and it was like the early days when they first got together in their twenties.

Even Covid and the lockdowns that followed couldn’t stand in the way of true love.

“I lost my husband in 2005, I had a big family and I was quite content to spend my time with family and friends.

“I wasn’t looking for another relationship but when I heard from Tony 15 years after my first husband died, it felt right.

“We already knew each other so well – it wasn’t like I’d met him on the internet. I knew he was honest and trustworthy – and he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me,” she said.

Tony lives in London and Gail has made her home in Southsea so when the restrictions allowed they met in person and once the lockdowns were over they decided to get married.

“I would have been happy with a small wedding of just 30 people but Tony was keen to have a bigger wedding.

“We had such a happy day and everything went well from start to finish.

“Amanda Gilmore, Events Coordinator at the Queens, was very thorough and made sure everything went well,” she said.

The couple married at St Simon’s Church in Southsea 54 years after they first met and following the service, enjoyed champagne and cake in the church with 120 guests.

The reception was held at the Queens with 90 adults and 14 children and Tony’s work as a DJ on Solar Radio in London influenced the look and feel of the day.

The table plan was created on vinyl singles and there was an eye-catching black and orange theme throughout.

Tony loves soul, jazz and funk and after the wedding meal, it was only right that he should take to the decks and spin some well-loved tunes.

Looking back on their wedding day, Gail enthused: “I wish I could do it all over again – I keep replaying the day in my mind.

“It was a wonderful day.”

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