Bride enjoys first flush of wedded bliss after marrying her teenage crush who she fell for anew at their 49-year high school reunion

·7-min read

A bride is enjoying the first flush of marital bliss after tying the knot with her teenage crush – as they fell in love anew at their 49 year high school reunion.

When Janice and Ian Stroud, both 68, were reunited for the first time in nearly 50 years, they both felt the butterflies that had fluttered in their stomachs when they first noticed each other as 14-year-olds in the Montgomery Academy school choir.

But they did not follow their hearts as teenagers, as retired school dinner lady Janice already had a boyfriend, so she and Ian, a retired diamond driller, remained just pals and parted company at 16 – staying apart until the June 2018 get together.

Ian proposed to Janice in December 2018 (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).
Ian proposed to Janice in December 2018 (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).

Mum-of-two Janice, of Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, who was unexpectedly driven to the do by Ian, said: “I knew from the moment he pulled up in the car that he was the man for me.

“It was the best thing that’s ever happened to both of us. We’re absolutely so happy together. Not a day goes by where we don’t have a good laugh.”

Kissing goodbye when he dropped her back home at the end of the evening, there was only one problem – just as Janice had been spoken for all those years earlier, this time it was Ian who had a partner.

Janice made all the decorations for their £9,000 country house wedding in August 2021 (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).
Janice made all the decorations for their £9,000 country house wedding in August 2021 (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).

But, while neither of them ever wanted to hurt anyone, their feelings were too powerful to deny and he eventually ended his relationship, so they could be together.

Janice said: “I did feel bad for Ian’s ex, but you can’t help it if you love someone.”

In the same class at school in Blackpool from the age of 11, Ian and Janice only noticed each other when they both joined the choir three years later.

“I didn’t know it then, but Ian used to follow me home from school,” laughed Janice.

“I had a boyfriend at the time though, so nothing happened between us.

“We left school at 16 and never saw each other again.”

Janice, pictured here as a teen, didn’t realise Ian had a crush on her until they reunited 49 years later (PA Real Life/Collect).
Janice, pictured here as a teen, didn’t realise Ian had a crush on her until they reunited 49 years later (PA Real Life/Collect).

She added: “I married my boyfriend from school and had my two daughters, Rebecca, who’s 43 now, and Laura who’s 40.

“But my marriage didn’t work out and we divorced in 2011.”

Ian remained in Janice’s thoughts though, and when she was invited to a school reunion 49 years later in June 2018, she added him as a friend on Facebook.

“An old friend was organising a reunion,” she said.

“She mentioned that Ian was coming. So, I looked him up on Facebook and sent a friend request.

“I messaged him and said, ‘I don’t want to walk into a pub on my own, will you meet me outside?’ He said he would.”

Ian first fancied Janice when they both joined the school choir at 14 years old (PA Real Life/Collect).
Ian first fancied Janice when they both joined the school choir at 14 years old (PA Real Life/Collect).

But on June 14, 2018, as Janice got ready for the get together, she had an unexpected caller.

“I was getting ready for the reunion, and I got a phone call about five minutes before my taxi was coming,” she said.

“Ian was around the corner and asked if I wanted a lift. I cancelled my taxi and he picked me up, so off we went.”

Remaining inseparable throughout the evening, they talked non-stop.

“We sat together all night and were telling each other our life histories,” said Janice.

“Then Ian gave me a lift home, which was nice. He pulled up outside my house, then leaned across and gave me a kiss.”

Janice and Ian tied the knot in August this year (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).
Janice and Ian tied the knot in August this year (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).

Instantly smitten, there was a big obstacle in their way.

“He was already with someone,” explained Janice.

“We had such a strong connection, but I was clear that I didn’t want to be the other woman, and nothing more happened then the kiss in the car.”

And Ian soon realised he could not deny his feelings.

Janice said: “Four months later, in October 2018, Ian left his partner. He phoned me to say he had left and was moving in with his dad.

“I told him to move in with me and we’ve lived together ever since.”

Janice and Ian reconnected at a high school reunion after 49 years apart (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).
Janice and Ian reconnected at a high school reunion after 49 years apart (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).

Although Janice admitted she felt bad for Ian’s ex, she said: “I am obviously very glad we are together.”

And in December 2018, two months after moving in together, Ian got down on one knee and proposed with a rather unusual ring choice.

“We got engaged a few days before Christmas in December 2018,” said Janice.

She added: “He proposed with a washer from the garage that he’d put into a ring box. He did get down on one knee, but I had to help him back up again!”

Postponing their big day until the global pandemic had eased, the couple tied the knot in August this year at a beautiful country manor house.

“We had a country house wedding in Singleton Lodge Country House Hotel in Poulton-le-Fylde,” said Janice.

After leaving school at 16 the pair rekindled their school crushes at a high school reunion 49 years later (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).
After leaving school at 16 the pair rekindled their school crushes at a high school reunion 49 years later (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).

She added: “There were about 50 people. We had a sit-down meal and a big celebration.

“I wore a big white dress and even hired singing waiters as a surprise for the guests. That was a big hit with everyone.

“I did an awful lot myself. I made the decorations, the table settings, the cake and did the flowers. I think it cost us around £9,000 in total.”

She added: “It was an amazing day. Then we flew off to Tenerife for three weeks for our honeymoon.”

Now Janice and Ian have some jet set plans for 2022, when they will be flying to sunny Egypt, as well as having a luxury cruise booked, starting in Corfu and travelling to Split and Venice during the winter months.

Janice, who says the secret to their happiness is constant laughter, added: “We love travelling together. We’re both retired now and love going on holiday,” she said.

The pair said I do at a lavish country house wedding surrounded by 50 friends and family (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).
The pair said I do at a lavish country house wedding surrounded by 50 friends and family (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).

She added: “We’ve booked a cruise for September 2022 and, before that, we’re going to Egypt in February and I’m looking for somewhere we can go in May.

“Ian has Parkinson’s, which can be tough, and I’ve had quite a lot of surgery. But we look after each other and have a laugh about our problems.

“We have a good laugh every day. We haven’t had a cross word in two and a half years.”

She added: “It’s like I’m 16 all over again. I’ve never been this happy.

“I can’t believe I’m now married to my high school crush.

“You can’t help who you fall in love with, but at the age we’re at, if you find your soul mate you can’t waste any time.”

It was love at first sight for the couple when they met at a reunion in June 2018 (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).
It was love at first sight for the couple when they met at a reunion in June 2018 (PA Real Life/rusomedia.com).

Ian agrees that when he first spotted Janice in the school choir it was love at first sight and that seeing her again, all the old feelings came flooding back.

He said: “Meeting Janice was the best thing that ever happened to me.

“I’d really liked her at school and when we met at the high school reunion, I fell head over heels.

“I am very sorry that it meant having to end the relationship I was in.

“But Janice is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

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