A couple of newlyweds are looking forward to their first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife tomorrow, after meeting over the romantic chords of classical music at the St Catherine’s Hospice Symphony at the Tower.
Lesley Anne Fraser and Martin Doxsey got together after being introduced through friends at the annual fundraiser in 2013.
They actually each recognised the other from a youth club they’d both attended as teenagers, and had seen each other at school parents’ evenings over the years.
After chatting at the concert in the grounds of Hoghton Tower, Lesley invited Martin to connect on social media that night.
Lesley Anne, a trustee of St Catherine’s Hospice, remembers: “After chatting with Martin I went back to my friend in the VIP tent and recounted our conversation, where we’d been having a laugh about internet dating.
“She convinced me that Martin was dropping hints that he was interested in us dating. I didn’t initially agree, but by the end of the evening, she had persuaded me to contact him.”
“The symphony has a fantastic, unforgettable atmosphere – and it’s amazing who you can meet there!”Lesley Anne Fraser
The rest, as they say, is history. They arranged their first date for the following week – a walk around Rivington which continued into dinner – and second and third dates quickly followed.
Within a few weeks they were introducing each other to family and friends and had arranged their first trip away together to Dublin.
Lesley Anne said: “We both had vague memories of each other as teenagers but had obviously changed in the intervening 35 years!
“We enjoyed getting to know each other, found we had lots in common, as well as enough that was different to make the relationship interesting and stimulating.
“We knew fairly quickly that things were serious; we had lots of fun as well as sharing a lot of the same values so the relationship felt very natural and normal for both of us.”
Martin’s marriage proposal followed in February 2015, and a wedding date was set for December 22 at Bolton School – the school Martin had attended – with a barn dance reception held in the Arts Centre there.
The ‘wonderful’ day included performances from the Smithills Community Choir – to which both Lesley Anne and Martin belong.
Since getting together, the couple have shown their support for the charity which first brought them together in many ways.
They took part in the Big Charity Bike Ride and Morecambe Bay Walk, and attended the St Catherine’s 30th anniversary ball together last June.
They also attend Symphony at the Tower each July to celebrate the anniversary of their meeting. This year the event, which celebrates its 21st anniversary in 2016, has been extended to cover three nights.
“We’re really looking forward to this year’s event,” Lesley Anne said. “The symphony has a fantastic, unforgettable atmosphere – and it’s amazing who you can meet there!”
Pop favourite Will Young will headline the opening night of the three-day event on July 1, followed by US blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa on July 2.
The event will close on July 3 with the Symphony Spectacular – a classical Proms-style concert featuring picnics, family fun and fireworks.
Martin said: “We’ve been to Symphony at the Tower each year since to celebrate our anniversary and usually try to encourage other friends to come along with us.”
Tickets for Symphony at the Tower 2016 are on sale from www.symphonyatthetower.co.uk, or from the hospice and The Mill Café in Lostock Lane, Lostock Hall.