Sophie and Neil Real Engagement Story

Written by    Last updated: August 21, 2006

Ours isn’t so much an unusual engagement as an unusual meeting. I was at sixth form college in September 1996 and one lunchtime, me and several friends were flicking through a newspaper. We found a letter from soldiers serving in Bosnia who wanted female penpals to write to. We were bored, so, for a laugh, we wrote a letter each and sent them off, not expecting to hear anything back.Towards the end of October, I got a letter from a soldier called Neil. He had been on guard and was very bored, so he started to tidy up all the bits of paper on the desk. Under all these bits of paper was my letter! We wrote to each other until January 1997, when he returned home. On 14 February 1997, Neil drove 200 miles to visit me. For the next year, we spoke on the phone every now and then. He had other girlfriends and I had other boyfriends. I asked him out in the summer of 1997, but he said ‘no’ as we lived too far apart. The week before Valentine’s Day, 1998, I got a letter from Neil asking me to stay at his house over Valentine’s weekend. He also asked me out. I was in a relationship at the time, but realised it was Neil I wanted to be with, so I finished the relationship, and Neil and I started going out on February 15, 1998. There was just one problem – he lived in Feltham, Middlesex, and I lived in Scunthorpe – over 200 miles away. We were determined to make it work, and Neil proposed to me on June 13, 1998. It was in a nightclub, but he did the whole bended-knee thing later, when we were on our own. We spoke to each other every day, but it was hard living so far apart and only seeing each other every fortnight. And then in January 1999, he went to America for seven weeks with the army, so we didn’t even get to see each other every fortnight. In September 1999, I started doing my DipHe in Nursing, but the best thing is that I now live just twenty minutes away from Neil! I keep thinking how lucky I am to have him and if he hadn’t been on guard that night he wouldn’t have found my letter, or if my friends and I hadn’t been reading the paper that day, Neil and I would never have met. We think it’s fate!

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