Facebook lovers to marry - 28 years after splitting up

A COUPLE are to get married 28 years after first falling in love and splitting up - after getting together through Facebook.

A COUPLE are to get married 28 years after first falling in love and splitting up - after getting together through Facebook.

Dawn Pitman, 48, and Paul Eaton, 56, fell for each other way back in 1982.

But the sweethearts drifted apart and later met other partners when Dawn told stunned Paul she was too young to settle down at 21.

The lovers never forgot each other, however.

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And almost three decades later they sensationally rekindled their romance after pictures of Dawn posted on Facebook set up a tear-jerking reunion.

And their delighted family and friends are now thrilled that Dawn and Paul are to make up for lost time and will finally tie the knot at a historic on March 20.

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A twist of fate struck like Cupid's arrow when gobsmacked Paul, from Barnsley, South Yorks, spotted holiday photos of his first love on Facebook.

Paul said: “It was totally a chance thing. I had only been on Facebook for a day. I just typed Dawn's name in and hoped for the best.

“It was a bit scary when I contacted her. I thought she might be married and would have a dozen kids."

He added: “I didn't know how she would react. I didn't know what to say. I just asked if she remembered me.”

Dawn, of Exmouth, Devon, said: “I went to America on holiday and my niece Rachel put all these pictures on Facebook.

“The irony was that I told her to take them off because I felt it was an invasion of privacy and she said she would get around to it when she had time.

“That's when Paul got in touch!"

She stressed: “If I hadn't been on Facebook, he would not have contacted me and we would have never got back together.

“I did think of him quite a lot over the years and wondered what happened to him.

“Because of his job he was on the move and because there weren't any mobile phones and he had no fixed phone number I just thought it would be impossible to find him.”

The couple first looked longingly into each other's eyes when Paul, then 29, was staying at a guesthouse, The Three Five, in Exmouth while working in the south-west for the water board.

The B&B was owned by Dawn's mum, Helen, who later ran Muffins Cafe in Chapel Hill for 14 years.

Dawn, who was 21 and a hairdresser, said a whirlwind holiday romance blossomed into a fully-blown 18-month love affair.

Now a care assistant, she recalled: “I didn't think Paul would be around for long but he was.

“He wanted to continue our relationship but I was young, free and single and having fun and I didn't want to settle down at the time.”

Paul never forgot his stunning young love and returned to Exmouth 14 years ago in a bid to track her down - but left heartbroken after being told she had moved away.

“I had a job in Cornwall and I had always thought about Dawn and thought I would take a detour and try and to look her up.

“I made a few enquiries and I was told she had moved to Bude," said the dad-of-two.

“I feared that was that. Of course she hadn't moved but I thought she had just moved on in her life. I found out later I had been only 500 yards away from where she was still living.”

Dawn told how they met up again on New Year's Eve 2008.

“It was a real shock. We both saw each other and he was exactly the same as I remember and that's what he said about me. He hadn't changed a bit.

“I knew then he was the one for me,” said the mum-of-one.

Paul said: “We just knew instantly as soon as we met up again. We didn't even have to discuss it or propose.”

The starstruck couple flew out to Thailand for a dream holiday and vowed to marry abroad.

They stopped off in Dubai as they jetted home to buy a pair of custom-made white and yellow gold rings designed by Dawn, with three huge diamonds.

“I always knew what I wanted. We were waiting at the hotel and we got them delivered in four hours. Lets just say everything we wanted we have. I really don't know how much it will cost," she said.

“We intended to get married abroad but when we got back everybody kept asking 'did you get married?' Once our families found out we realised there was no way we were going to be able to do this quietly!”

Amazingly Paul actually proposed to Dawn in the car as they drove to Point In View Church, Exmouth, to discuss the wedding with the vicar.

“And the great thing is we haven't had to do any organising,” said Dawn. “My niece Rachel has done everything.”

Dawn, who has a son, Luke, 21, from a previous relationship, said: “I did think of him quite a lot over the years and wondered what happened to him.

“He hasn't changed a bit. He's the same old laid back, easy-going Paul I knew all those years ago. My Dad always liked Paul.

“He said he was the one I should marry - he's over the moon now and can hardly believe it.

“People have asked me 'did it really happen like that?' Yes it did. Everyone's amazed.”

Paul said: “My family were taken back when I told them how it happened. But my sons and family are really pleased for me.”

The reunited soulmates are now debating where to live.

Paul said: “We might go to Sidmouth or we could move to Yorkshire, we are just trying to work through those things now. Things have happened so fast.”

Dawn expects at least 300 people to attend their reception in the Royal Beacon Hotel, including her son Luke and Paul's sons Chris and Simon from a previous marriage.

“It's going to be an event to remember. I bet half of Exmouth will turn up. People keeping stopping me in the street or tapping on my car window congratulating me," she said.

“I really don't know how they are all going to fit in!”

Paul said: “When we knew each other all those years ago, I was a white van man and Dawn had a sports car. I've still got a white van and Dawn still has a sports car - some things never change.

“She always said that we would see each other again. I just didn't think it would be 27 or 28 years!”

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