Years of back-breaking renovation work on their dream home - which resulted in a few trips to casualty - proved to be a solid foundation for Diane Allen Booth and Matthew Bentley to build their life on.
The couple’s friendship blossomed into romance around five years ago, and before they knew it, they were spending every weekend working on their new home in Withnell, Chorley, with the help of Diane’s son, Ryan.
“We knew it was going to be a big job but didn’t realise how big,” she says. “We had to take almost every bit of wood out due to woodworm - which led to one of our first A&E trip when Ryan stood on a rusty nail.
“We also had to take every bit of plaster, wiring and piping out, including some rather inventive additions added to the property by the previous owner, including an old lamp post which, whilst Matt was cutting out, landed on his leg. I had to clean it and hold it together with surgical tape.
“I then had to undergo three months of treatment with a chiropractor to put my back in place after too much energetic use of the sledgehammer!
“The latest more serious hospital visit was when Matt was cutting wood with his axe; a splinter hit his arm nicking his vein. Blood was spurting everywhere so I had to use my first aid knowledge again and drive him down to the hospital.”
“The adventure gave us many opportunities for laughter and tears, and we have grown strong together through the experience and built a home together.”Diane Allen Booth
She adds: “We spent every weekend, evening and holiday (giving up friends, holidays away, pampering sessions of any sort) for four years. But it’s been fun.
“We’ve learnt lots and love our home. The adventure gave us many opportunities for laughter and tears, and we have grown strong together through the experience and built a home together.
“It’s made us very strong.”
Diane, a building society employee from Heapey, Chorley, also faces the constant daily challenge of living with multiple sclerosis (MS), which she says made Matt’s commitment to her all the more meaningful.
Matt, a bank manager from Harrogate, who also has son Tom, proposed in July 2014 on a beach in Brittany.
“He had the ring in the palm of his hand under a seashell, the sea was lapping at our ankles, it was warm, sunny and a perfect day,” Diane says. “It’s even more amazing to me that Matt proposed knowing about my MS and what he’s signed himself up to for the rest of his life!”
The loved-up pair celebrated their nuptials over two days on September 18 and 19.
Diane explains: “Because I get very tired very quickly, I would not have been able to celebrate with everyone on one long day. So we were married on the Friday at St Paul’s Church in Withnell, followed by an intimate wedding breakfast at Shaw Hill Golf Club in Whittle-le-Woods for close family and friends.
“This was followed by a party on Saturday night, also at Shaw Hill, with about 130 guests, live music, and a magician.”
The newlyweds took a well deserved break to Dubai for their honeymoon.