‘The best decision I’ve ever made’: a Guardian Blind date success story


In August 2023, Shelagh, 70, met Tony, 73, for a blind date in a restaurant in south London. The connection between them was immediate. In their interviews after the meal, both described being disarmed by the other’s honesty. They skipped the usual first date chit-chat and jumped straight to weightier topics: divorce, politics and religion.

In my role as the Guardian’s matchmaker, I always hope couples will hit it off, but in Tony and Shelagh’s case I felt unusually confident. I emailed them, asking to be kept abreast of any updates. They replied with a photograph of themselves in front of the Colosseum, on a mini‑break in Rome.

Last week I caught up with Shelagh on the phone, and asked her how things are progressing. She lost her husband in 2020, and she told me it was the experience of turning 70 on her own last year that first motivated her to apply to do a Blind Date: “It was a Saturday, and I was sitting at the table with the paper thinking, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone like this – that’s when the column caught my eye.”

Shelagh hadn’t dated since 1993, and her friends told her she was “completely insane” to relaunch her dating career in a national newspaper. “Perhaps it was insane, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made,” she told me. Shelagh has just celebrated her 71st birthday, which she spent with Tony, in Tenerife.

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