A Liversedge couple have spoken of the twist of fate that brought them together while living over 100 miles apart.
Chris and Belinda Knott were the winners of the Reporter Series Valentine’s Day competition, which saw them enjoy a luxury spa break at the Gomersal Park Hotel.
The story of the amazing coincidence that sparked their relationship impressed judges who decided to award them the prize.
Fifteen years ago, Belinda was living in Wolverhampton and going through a divorce when she sent the text message that would change her life.
“I was at the bus stop at the end of a really awful day, so I decided to text my friend on my old Nokia asking her to send me some jokes,” said Belinda, now 43.
Instead, the text was delivered to the wrong number and Belinda apologised to the mystery recipient- yet that wasn’t the end of the matter.
“The next morning, my phone pinged and it was a text from the same number- it said ‘I hope this isn’t the start of another bad day?’ It went from there really.”
The texter turned out to be Chris, then living in Huddersfield, and the pair began chatting regularly through the summer. That October, Chris had a business meeting in Wolverhampton and asked to meet Belinda there.
“We met in a car park and I was too nervous to get out of the car! I’d never seen a photo of him and had no idea what he looked like.”
But they hit it off, discovering they were only five years apart in age and had children with just months between them.
A few months later, Belinda and her son Ashley, now a 20-year-old soldier, moved up to Kirklees to live with Chris, now 48.
They married in Whitby in 2008 and are now settled in Hightown, enjoying motorbiking and dog walking together.
“It was a bit of a shock to my family at first - we kept it quiet, but my dad was super pleased when he met Chris as they’re both bikers. My friends couldn’t believe I’d met him without seeing even a photo!”
Belinda, a PA at Morrisons in Bradford, and contract manager Chris enjoyed their 15th Valentine’s Day together in the hotel after Belinda entered them into the competition as a surprise.
“I was really surprised to win, and I work in an open office so I had to be quite subdued on the call! My husband was shocked as he didn’t know anything about it.
“The spa was fantastic and it was a great experience. The service was wonderful and it was a pleasure to meet the staff. The meal was lovely too,” added Belinda.
Runner-up Paula Dyson enjoyed a meal at the Bangla Lounge in Birstall with her partner.