When 82-year-old Peter Prior stopped to chat to a fellow guest at Merton House Hotel, where he was staying in Ross-on-Wye, about buying some raffle tickets, little did he think it would lead to winning a much greater prize – true love.

Mr Prior chatted to fellow guest, 62-year-old Lynda Tuffnel, about the prizes on offer. He said he would like to win a hand warmer, to use when watching TV, and Lynda said there was a scarf which matched a hat she already had. When the raffle was drawn, chance intervened and Peter won the scarf and Lynda won the hand warmer. They agreed to exchange presents and then started to chat regularly.

Peter said that at this point, neither of them was looking for a partner, he had been widowed for five years and Lynda had been a widow for 17 years. However, romance blossomed and now, while staying at the same hotel in Ross-on-Wye, the couple have married.

The wedding took place on Monday, December 5th, at Christ Church, on the opposite side of the road to Merton House Hotel. A guard of honour was performed by members of staff at the hotel who held up the traffic for the wedding party to cross over the road

Lynda was living in Devon when she took a holiday in Ross-on-Wye, and Peter lived in Birmingham so it is unlikely that they would have met if it had not been for Merton House. Peter is full of praise for the staff at the hotel. He told the Ross Gazette: “We booked a double room for our stay, before and after the wedding but they have given me a single room to sleep in the night before the wedding, to keep up tradition. This meant I would not see the bride until the moment when Linda entered the church to get married.”

They did not have far to travel for the ceremony as they were married in Christ Church, Edde Cross Street.

Both newly weds have serious health problems, Lynda had a stroke and is quite disabled on her right side and Peter has had five heart attacks and has a synchronised defibrillator fitted in his chest. However they are looking forward to a long and happy future together in a new, specially adapted, bungalow they have had built in West Bromwich.

Meanwhile the happy couple are now enjoying their honeymoon at Merton House.