Love finds a way – even in lockdown

10 June 2020

To paraphrase the classic theme song to Love Story, where do we begin, to tell this story of how great a love can be?

So let’s start with some basic facts… Gillian lives in Somers Court, Norwood’s collection of supported living flats in Edgware. Martin lives in a J Living-supported flat in Golders Green. As with any real-life love story, it would be too simplistic to say that Gillian and Martin’s paths were destined to cross, but cross they did and this is how it happened.

One night about seven years ago, Gillian was drinking in a pub in Whetstone with some friends. Martin was there too and, although he noticed Gillian and wanted to approach her, he could see that she was with people and didn’t dare make contact.

A few years later, Gillian went to visit a friend who happened to live in the same block as Martin. There, in the foyer, Gillian and Martin’s paths crossed again. Again, not a word was exchanged – although, by now, the attraction was mutual.

As is so often the case with matters of the heart, it fell to the woman to take matters into her own hands. Gillian asked her friend who lived in Martin’s flats for Martin’s number and called him immediately. “I asked him directly if he wanted to go out with me and he said yes! I was thrilled,” Gillian says.

Gillian and Martin have been together for five years. For Martin, Gillian is “a kind and generous person who loves a good laugh”. He also appreciates her honesty: “Gillian is direct and does not hide what she thinks. I especially love going on holidays together and just spending time with her. Our wish is to be together for the rest of our lives.”

Gillian agrees: “Martin is a kind, lovable and thoughtful person. We love spending time together and I visit his flat and he visits mine. We also go to the cinema, visit London and love walking in the park together.”

But then came the coronavirus crisis and, with Martin and Gillian both having to be cautious, the opportunities to do they things they love together became limited.

But now, the couple have started seeing each other regularly, from a safe distance, in the garden of Gillian’s flat. So when it was Martin’s birthday recently, Gillian knew exactly what she needed to do.

Gillian says: “Last year on my birthday, Martin took me out for a candlelit dinner and to the theatre.” So – with the help of Norwood’s support workers and the home manager – a mini private party for Gillian and Martin was hastily arranged in the garden at Somers Court.

Martin was thrilled by Gillian’s gesture, and said, simply, that he had “the best girl in the world”.

We think the pictures speak for themselves and look forward to the big day (no pressure, Martin). Because while safety measures might be keeping Gillian and Martin two metres apart for now, it’s surely only a matter of time before they fall into each other’s arms again.

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