Million to one love match for Barnstaple newly weds

Joseph Bulmer

Braunton Caen Rotarians meet up online and realise they live almost next door to each other

A meeting on the internet sparked love for newly weds Paula Larcombe and Roger Byrom – without realising they lived a mere hundred yards apart.

The pair got chatting on dating site and when they arranged to meet up, were stunned to discover they lived a stone’s throw away from each other at Sticklepath in Barnstaple.

Five years later they have just celebrated their wedding at Saunton Sands Hotel, attended by family, friends and an unconventional umbrella guard of honour by fellow Rotarians of Braunton Caen Rotary Club.

Their million to one chance meeting was just the start of an unusual courtship for healthcare PA Paula and funeral director Roger of L Clarke and Sons in Braunton.

Sunday afternoon walks in the country tended to include a walk around a graveyard, not to mention a visit to a coffin factory and a romantic weekend away at a funeral exhibition.

“I had been on my own for a few years and tentatively enrolled on the dating site looking for companionship,” explained Paula.

“We didn’t realise we were neighbours until we started talking.”

Roger added: “We were both a bit shocked and surprised, but thought it would make life easier rather than having to travel far to see each other.

“For our first date we met at the end of each other’s road and went to our local pub the Wrey Arms.”

Roger bought out the funeral director business from The Co-operative about 18 months ago, but the couple had no problems working it into their relationship.

“It was certainly very different, but it was just lovely to spend time with each other,” said Paula.

“My friend and work colleagues all thought it was highly amusing, especially when he took me away to a funeral exhibition for the weekend, which was my treat as we don’t go away very often because of the business.”

A chuckling Roger explained: “Sunday is about the only time I have to go and find headstones or graves, so quite often we would pop out for a drive and go via a graveyard!

“It did not seem to chase her off at all and as she is now a partner in the business it actually works quite well.”

Their marriage is a second time around for both and they each have three children from a previous marriage – on her wedding day Paula was attended by her daughter Katie Larcombe and step daughter Beth Byrom as bridesmaids.

“The wedding was absolutely brilliant and the reception such fun,” said Rotarian Ann Turner, who contacted the Gazette about the couple’s incredible story. “Roger has a fantastic sense of humour and the way they met up was just unbelievable, but they both deserve it.”

As well as their shared interest in the “family business,” both Paula and Roger are active members of Braunton Caen Rotary Club, as well as the North Devon Gang Show.

“There is never a dull moment, he is never off duty and on call 24/7, so we never know what the next telephone call will bring,” said Paula.

“He is very committed to his job and provides an excellent service for families at their time of need.

“He is an amazing person and he has transformed my life.”

The Byroms spent their honeymoon in Rome – but not at an international funeral directors convention!