Love was in the air at Symphony at the Tower!
A couple who tied the knot just before Christmas are looking forward to their first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife after first meeting over the romantic chords of live classical music at the St Catherine’s Hospice Symphony at the Tower concert.
Lesley Anne Fraser and Martin Doxsey got together after being re-introduced through friends at the annual fundraiser in aid of the hospice in 2013. They each recognised the other from a youth club they’d both attended together as teenagers, and had seen each other sporadically at school parents’ evenings over the years.
After getting on like a house on fire whilst chatting at the outdoor concert in the grounds of Hoghton Tower, Lesley invited Martin to connect on social media later that night.
She remembers: “After chatting with Martin I went back to my friend in the VIP tent and recounted our conversation, where we’d been having a laugh about internet dating. She convinced me that Martin was dropping hints that he was interested in us dating. I didn’t initially agree, but by the end of the evening, she had persuaded me to contact him.”
The rest, as they say, is history. They arranged their first date for the following week – a walk around Rivington which continued into dinner – and second and third dates quickly followed. Within a few weeks they were introducing each other to family and friends and had arranged their first trip away together to Dublin.
Lesley Anne said: “We both had vague memories of each other as teenagers but had obviously changed in the intervening 35 years! We enjoyed getting to know each other, found we had lots in common, as well as enough that was different to make the relationship interesting and stimulating. We knew fairly quickly that things were serious; we had lots of fun as well as sharing a lot of the same values so the relationship felt very natural and normal for both of us.”
Martin’s marriage proposal followed in February 2015. He admits “It wasn’t very romantic I’m afraid! I proposed at home in the middle of a normal conversation when it seemed like the natural thing to do. Before that we were already talking about the future and had agreed to move in together.”
A wedding date was set for December 22 2015 at Bolton School – the school Martin had attended – with a barn dance reception held in the Arts Centre there.
The ‘wonderful’ day included performances from the Smithills Community Choir – to which both Lesley Anne and Martin belong.
Martin said: “We picked Christmas because it was the first time that all our families were available, and it had to be in the school holidays as I am a teacher. We really enjoyed planning the wedding and made it very personal. A highlight was that a large group from the choir we both sing in came along to sing three pieces during the service. The only condition they made was that we had to sing with them, which we did. It was a great day.”
Since getting together Lesley Anne – a senior manager at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Trustee of St Catherine’s Hospice – and Martin have shown their support for the charity which first brought them together in many ways. This has included taking part in their Big Charity Bike Ride, sponsored Morecambe Bay walk and attending the St Catherine’s 30th anniversary ball together last June.
They also attend Symphony at the Tower each July to celebrate the anniversary of their meeting. This year the event, which celebrates its 21st birthday in 2016, has been extended to cover three nights.
Pop favourite Will Young will headline the opening night of the three-day event on Friday July 1, followed by US blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa with his ‘Salute to the British Blues Explosion’ tour – paying homage to guitar legends Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page – on Saturday July 2.
The event will close on Sunday July 3 with the Symphony Spectacular – a classical Proms-style concert featuring a live orchestra, picnics, family fun and fireworks.
Martin said: “We’ve been to Symphony at the Tower each year since to celebrate our anniversary and usually try to encourage other friends to come along with us.”
Lesley Anne added: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s event. The Symphony has a fantastic, unforgettable atmosphere – and it’s amazing who you can meet there!”
Tickets for Symphony at the Tower 2016 are on sale now here , from St Catherine’s Hospice or The Mill Café in Lostock Lane, Lostock Hall, Preston, PR5 5XU or by calling 01772 629171. Will Young is priced at £35; Joe Bonamassa at £60 and the Symphony Spectacular at £22.50.
Share with your friends!