A 79-year-old from Portishead has enjoyed a shot at celebrity status on his quest to find love through Channel 4’s latest series of First Dates Hotel. Bev Walkden and his date Sheila, 81, from Wokingham, were the stars of the show with viewers taking to social media to congratulate them for demonstrating that age is no barrier to finding love.
Bev Walkden has been a widower for almost three years, but agreed to take part in the show after some encouragement from his friends at St Peters Lodge, in particular his Lodge Manager Vivienne. “I thought perhaps I’ll look a twit or feel daft,” he says. “But then I thought, four days in France, a lovely hotel and a chance of some romance, what have I got to lose? And I’m very glad I did as I had a wonderful time.”
Despite Bev having a beard – a big no-no in Sheila’s book – the pair thankfully hit it off. After enjoying dinner at the hotel restaurant, and Sheila even giving Bev a foot massage back at his room, the couple shared their first kiss on camera. It all proved a big hit with viewers, with one writing on Twitter: "Bev & Sheila just had me in tears! What a bloomin marvellous pair" and another adding: "Bev and Sheila just melted my heart."
And the good news is that they are still in touch, with Bev visiting Sheila so that they could watch the episode when it aired on Channel 4 earlier this month. He said: “Sheila lives in a retirement development in Wokingham with a Guest Suite similar to the one we have here, so I went to stay there so we could both enjoy the show together. It was a lot of fun, and we’ve both had lots of nice messages from people who saw it.
“I really enjoyed making the programme, and hopefully we’ve helped to prove that age is no barrier to getting out there, embracing life and having a shot at romance.”
Bev has been a resident at Churchill’s St Peter’s Lodge in Portishead for two years. “I’m very content here,” he says. “There’s a nice community and we get together regularly. I can even go away on a cruise – or a TV dating show – without having to worry about my apartment. Everything is looked after here by our brilliant Lodge Manager Vivienne, who does a great job and is also a good friend to all.”
Churchill Retirement Living’s one and two bedroom apartments are available all over the UK. With less to worry about, Owners have more time to do the things they enjoy, including taking advantage of the host of other benefits on offer, such as having family or friends to stay in the development’s well-appointed Guest Suite, attending one of the many events in the Owners’ Lounge, or enjoying the beautifully landscaped grounds.
Churchill’s Grange Lodge development, located on St Peters Road in Portishead, has a limited number of apartments still available. For further information, click here.