A CHANCE meeting led to romance and wedding bells for a couple.
Love blossomed after Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Darren Carter, 39, and Tania Bartlam, 48, met at Brothers in Arms fund-raising night while he was in Sunderland while serving on HMS Ocean.
Now the happy couple are to show their thanks by using their upcoming nuptials to raise money for the city forces charity.
Darren and Tania, who hails from Ashbrooke, are due to marry in October.
They have decided to raffle off their wedding gifts at a special charity night in November, and donate money from ticket sales for the event.
“People were asking us what we wanted for wedding gifts, and at our time of life we don’t really want or need anything,” said Darren.
“It was fate that Tania was at the evening in Sunderland.
“She only decided to go at the last minute and our table was one of the few that had empty seats.
“Because of this, Brothers-in-Arms had to be one of our charities.”
Tom Cuthbertson – whose 19-year-old paratrooper son Nathan was killed serving in Afghanistan in 2008 – is from one of the Wearside families involved in Brothers-In-Arms,
The 41-year-old, from Tunstall, said he was touched by Darren and Tania’s generosity.
“I think it is fantastic that they met at one of our events and they are still together.
“It’s just brilliant what they are doing. We are really touched by the gesture.
“We would like to say ‘thank you’ to them for what they are doing.”
Nick and Tania, of Plymouth, Devon, will also give money to Help For Heroes.
Tania, a district nurse, said: “My family are from a military background and my grandfather died at sea in the Second World War, so I have a great connection with the Armed Forces.
“If Nick and I can donate our gifts and help raise monies, no matter how small a contribution, to support these charities, then that makes me feel happy that we can give something back to these well deserving people.”