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A chance encounter on coach trip to Oban led to two pensioners finding love

Helen McAllister, and fiance Phillip McCusker (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)
Helen McAllister, and fiance Phillip McCusker (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)

HELEN MCALLISTER, 84, had adventure on her mind rather than love when she booked herself a coach trip to Oban at Christmas 2015.

And, despite being sat beside a tall, dark stranger, Helen was peeved she had to share her seat.

She shot her fellow passenger a disapproving look then buried her head in a book. Phillip, from Glasgow, took the hint and they sat in silence.

But when the coach stopped at a road-side restaurant, fate intervened. As Helen struggled to release her seatbelt, Phillip gallantly offered to help.

His hand accidentally brushed her leg. He apologised, she laughed and the ice was broken.

The pair shared meals together during the holiday. After they got home, they kept in touch. And much like the plot of Helen’s favourite TV show, Last Tango In Halifax, their friendship blossomed into love.

Then, in January, Philip gingerly got down on one knee and popped the question during a trip to Portugal.

“It was a shock meeting someone at this stage in my life,” says Helen, a widow of 20 years. “Phillip is quite a romantic.”

For his 89th birthday last month, Helen took her fiancé on a seaplane flight. The lovebirds shared a glass of bubbly as they soared into the sky above Loch Lomond. And, this time, Helen didn’t mind sharing her seat.