A British man and his Spanish former sweetheart have finally married 16 years after they drifted apart, reunited by a love letter lost behind a fireplace for over a decade, reports said on Monday.
Steve Smith and Carmen Ruiz-Perez, both now 42, fell in love 17 years ago when she was a foreign exchange student in Brixham, southwest England, and got engaged after only a year together. But their relationship ended after she moved France to run a shop in Paris.
A few years later, in a bid to rekindle their love, Smith sent a letter to her mother's home in Spain. It was placed on the mantelpiece, but slipped down behind the fireplace and was lost for over a decade.
The missing missive was only found when builders removed the fireplace during renovation work. "When I got the letter I didn't phone Steve right away because I was so nervous," Ruiz-Perez told the Herald Express local newspaper.
"I nearly didn't phone him at all. I kept picking up the phone then putting it down again. "But I knew I had to make the call."
When they were reunited, it was as if time had stood still, said Smith, a factory supervisor. "When we met again it was like a film. We ran across the airport into each other's arms. We met up and fell in love all over again. Within 30 seconds of setting eyes on each other we were kissing.
"I'm just glad the letter did eventually end up where it was supposed to be," he said, after the couple married last Friday.