When Jess Fairs moved into Yates Court in Evesham, she didn't expect to fall in love again. But she has, with 92 year old Harry Kent. And it all happened thanks to the formation of a new Residents' Association. Jess became secretary and Harry the chairman, and their love blossomed.
"We have fun together," says Harry. "We are able to laugh all the time."
Harry moved into ExtraCare's Yates Court, in the High Street, Evesham, three years ago and Jess, now 87, moved in a year later. Harry is a widower and father of four children. Jess, a mother of two, had been married for 63 years when her husband died in 2008. She is a former teacher and Harry was an engineer.
"Neither of us anticipated ever falling in love again," says Jess.
The pair spent time together during the formation of the Residents' Association and became closer during ExtraCare's five day trip to Torquay a year ago. During the last evening there they talked for hours and held hands for the first time. A day or so after they came back Harry asked Jess if he could be more than just a friend and said he loved her.
Harry then left for a planned two month trip to visit his son in New Zealand. Jess knew she was going to miss him so much that she had to go out on the day he left. "He said: 'write me a love letter' and so I did," she says. "I think he has still got it."
Jess was worried that Harry would stay in New Zealand or that his feelings for her would have changed while he was away. On the day he came back, she made a meal for him and left it in his flat with a note that said: "If there is anything more you need just let me know." Harry called her when he arrived home and said: "I need you. Come now."
"It was so lovely," Jess recalls. "I just ran straight into his arms and he held me very tight. At some point in the next few minutes I said: 'you will have to put me down Harry, my feet are not touching the floor.' It was very romantic."
The couple have no plans to marry or share a flat. "We are so near to each other we can be with each other in two minutes," says Jess. "We love it when we come together. We kiss each other as though we have been apart for at least a month.
"Our lives will continue in pretty much the same pattern as before, but with this remarkable and unlooked-for addition.
"Everybody seems pleased for us and we are very very happy, counting ourselves fortunate to be experiencing love again at this time of our lives."
Harry and Jess enjoy getting involved with Yates Court life. Harry likes gardening and has won numerous trophies and medals. He has recently been on a fishing trip with ExtraCare. Jess runs a poetry group and gets involved in the choir. And they both enjoy going to see a film next every fortnight.
Most evenings Harry comes to Jess for tea and then they spend the evening together.
"It has given us a new lease of life," says Harry. "We enjoy each other's company."
For further information, please contact:
Lucy Henson, PR officer