Romance rekindled for Lyme pensioner after 34 years

“Ginger” finds love again with an old flame from across the Atlantic

A TRANSATLANTIC telephone call rekindled a long lost romance for a Lyme Regis man.

And a whirlwind courtship, after 34 years apart, has resulted in a successful proposal of marriage by Geoffrey “Ginger” Bartlett, of North Avenue.

Now he will fly to the USA on January 7 for an 89 day holiday during which he and his bride-to-be, Sue-Ann Whittick, will discuss arrangements for the weddding which, for legal requirements, will almost certainly take place in this country.

Retired engineer Geoffrey, 69, first met American Sue-Ann on the iconic Cobb at Lyme in 1977 when she came to the resort on a teacher’s sabbatical. He took her on a fishing trip with a local boatman, and the pair were inseperable for the rest of her stay in town.

“We kept in contact for a while after Sue-Ann returned to The States, but I never thought we would meet again and I eventually entered another relationship,” said Geoffrey.

“I always felt that Sue-Ann was the love of my life, however, and I was amazed when she telephoned me in September.

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“It was a bolt out of the blue when I heard this lovely soft American voice saying ‘Is that you Ginger?’

“She said: ‘It has been 34 years, but I have never forgotten you. She added that she was coming over to stay at the Royal Lion Hotel, and she invited me to have dinner with her. We hit it off straight away; it was as if we had never been apart. Then, before she went back to the USA, we spent some time together in London.

“I asked her to marry me, for I felt it was right, and she was pleased to accept. Obviously, because we live in different countries, there is a great deal to think about and sort out, but we are dead keen to commit to marriage.

“I could not be happier. I never thought that this would happen to me at my time of life.”

Geoffrey, who divorced in the mid 1970s, is well known in Lyme Regis. An ex student of the old grammar school, he played football for the Seasiders and was an ace fast bowler for Uplyme and Lyme Regis Cricket Club.

Geoffrey will fly to Washington before travelling down with widow Sue-Ann to South Carolina where she has one of her two houses, the other being in Pittsburg.