Northampton love birds who met at school to tie the knot in their old classroom
Childhood sweethearts Jemma and Phil have swapped walking down the aisle for the corridors of their old Northampton school for their wedding venue next year.
In 1992, four-year-old Jemma Fullthorpe, of Eastern Avenue South, met reception pupil Phil Allen, of Queens Crescent, when they shared a classroom at Kingsthorpe Grove Lower School.
The pair were good friends and often played in neighbouring streets together before they both moved away from Kingsthorpe and sadly lost touch.
Through the power of Facebook, the couple reconnected as young adults and sent messages back and forth.
Jemma said: "Our lives had changed but I did have feelings for him and was too shy to meet him despite his many attempts to invite me out for lunch, hockey games or a walk with his dogs. He would even walk past one of my old jobs to wave at me through the window.
"I always found an excuse not to meet or cancel.
"This actually continued for 10 years. He never gave up."
Eventually in 2016, Jemma moved back to her parents, not realising Phil had done the same.
After sending a Snapchat to her story, Phil got in touch realising Jemma was just around the corner.
"By this point, I had ran out of excuses and finally agreed to meet him," she said.
"I was a bundle of nerves and felt sick making the short walk around the corner with the intentions to finally meet him and his dogs on the green where we would play as kids and climb trees.
"The moment I spotted him my nerves disappeared, he looked just the same and his smile was welcoming.
"From that day we were inseparable and I truly have never been happier."
Jemma, 31, and Phil, 32, now live together in their own home in Queens Crescent with their dogs, Junior and Misha, with a view from their window of the green and their former primary school.
In 2017, Phil proposed and put the ring inside a kinder surprise.
"We're both big children at heart," Jemma added.
"We started to plan our big day but we're not church people and wanted something different.
"We contacted Kingsthorpe Grove Lower School, where we met, and told them our story and how we couldn't think of anywhere more perfect to hold our wedding.
"The school headteacher met with us and we discussed the idea. After a month of waiting for a governors' meeting to take place the answer came back as yes. Plans are underway and we're both over the moon."
The couple's wedding date is set for a date in summer next year on the same day Jemma finally agreed to meet Phil three years ago.