When 21-year-old Kelly first laid eyes on divorced pensioner Bob Baker it was love at first sight.
Despite the incredible 40 year age gap between them the two have been inseparable for the last seven years and happily married for three of them.
Bob is 13 years older than Kelly’s Mum, and Kelly is 17 years younger than Bob’s eldest daughter – but the unlikely lovers couldn’t be happier.
Proving that opposites really do attract Kelly believes that she and young-at-heart Bob are a perfect match, no matter what people say.
Sitting with pride of place on the mantelpiece in the Bakers’ living room is a picture of a beaming Kelly surrounded by nine youngsters.
They could be mistaken her children, or even her siblings, but they are the grandchildren of her 68-year-old lover Bob.
Smitten Kelly said: “When I look at Bob I don’t see a man forty years older than me. I see a man who’s passionate, loving and full of life.”
Kelly, 28, first met Bob a divorcee with two grown up children, when she was waiting to meet up with a friend – who Bob was dating.
Love was the last thing on Kelly’s mind when the two of them arrived at her house in Bob’s car.
Kelly said: “My friend mentioned she might bring her new boyfriend along. When they pulled up I noticed Bob smiling at me from the driver’s seat and his twinkly blue eyes immediately caught my attention.
“We both said a polite, ‘Hello’ to each other and that was it.
“I thought that would be the last time I saw him – my friend told me that day it was over between them, but a couple of days later I got a phone call – and it was from Bob.”
The father-of-two had not been able to stop thinking about the smiley blonde and had approached Kelly’s uncle, a friend of his, for her number.
After exchanging a few flirty text messages Bob asked Kelly if she would like to meet up for a drink in their local.
Despite her inital nerves Kelly has no regrets about meeting up for that first date.
“I spent hours getting ready and the nerves were really building as I waited for him to arrive.
“It was the most anxious I’d ever been on any date,” Kelly recalled.
“But as soon as Bob walked through the door he completely put me at ease.
“He was the perfect gentleman.
“Unlike men of my age Bob was a really great listener and seemed to really want to get to know me.
“We chatted for hours swapping stories about our childhoods and it sounds cliché, but I felt like I’d known him for years.”
“There was no pressure. I wasn’t worrying about where the date was going. I could tell Bob respected me and I liked that.”
The couple continued to meet regularly at the pub and it wasn’t long before they made their relationship official.
After they had spent the night together for the first time Bob knew it was time for them to have a serious chat.
Kelly said: “He pulled me aside and said: ‘You know I’m quite a bit older than you are’.
“I just giggled and said: ‘yes, I know you are Bob,’ and that was that.
“I’d never thought to ask his age. It just didn’t matter to me.
“A number doesn’t define who a person is.”
While the age gap didn’t bother the two lovers, as their relationship blossomed they were aware that their families and friends might not share their joy and they were initially reluctant to tell them.
Kelly said: “Meeting Bob’s daughters was the hardest.
“Tracey and Lorraine are at least ten years older than I am and I was worried that they would question my intentions in being with their father.
“But once they had gotten to know me they were very accepting and we’re very close now.”
When her Mum asked to meet her new boyfriend for the first time like most young women Kelly was very wary.
But Kelly had more reason to be nervous than most as her new partner was a decade older than her parents.
Kelly said: “I tried to put off introducing them. I was concerned how my Mum would react when she found out out Bob’s age.
“Luckily she saw past that and loved him just as much as I did.”
Kelly added: “It was my friends that gave me the hardest time about the age gap.
“They were very sceptical when they discovered Bob was in his sixties.
“‘What on earth do you see in him?’ they would ask me.
“But at a family party, when they finally got to meet him, my girlfriends pulled me aside and said: ‘Don’t let him go Kelly, he’s perfect for you.'”
But not everyone has been so supportive of their relationship.
Kelly and Bob’s displays of affection still cause quite a stir when they are out in public.
“The majority of people know us and understand,” Kelly said.
“We’re just like any normal couple really but I still notice the occasional whispers and stares. I try my best not to let it bother me but sometimes that’s hard.”
She added: “The snide comments like, ‘Isn’t he old enough to be her Granddad?’ hurt the most.
“Bob tells me not to rise to it and now I try not to care what people think of us.”
After four years of dating Bob made the ultimate display of commitment to Kelly by asking her to marry him.
She said: “It was completely out of the blue.
“He called me to come into the kitchen and he was waiting for me on one knee holding my grandmother’s ring. I immediately cried out ‘yes’ and threw my arms around him. Then Bob let me in on a secret.”
“He had been secretly planning the wedding and had already arranged most of it. All he needed was my approval.
“That’s why I know he’s the one for me – he’s got such a big heart.”
Kelly and Bob, who was previously married for 37 years, planned a very intimate ceremony with just a few close family and friends but on the day over a hundred people turned up to wish them well.
“There were so many people they couldn’t fit in the registry office,” Kelly said.
“Bob’s daughters helped me get ready on the day.
“It’s funny to think I was initially so scared to meet them. Tracey and Lorraine have welcomed me into the family with open arms.”
While she loves spending time with Bob’s grandkids, Kelly has had to come to terms with one of the downsides of dating an old man – she will never have children of her own.
She said: “Bob always says, ‘never say never,’ but I think we both know his fathering days are over.
“I know most girls dream of being a mother but I’ve still got a lot to be thankful for.
“Bob has nine grandchildren and one great grandchild and I feel like they are my own family.”
But without any children in the house the couple are free to enjoy lots of quality time together – and say they make love up to three times in a week.
Kelly said: “Even after seven years together we are still very much in love.
“The age difference means that we have slightly different sex drives but Bob takes Viagra and it’s never been an issue for us.”
Although Bob and Kelly say that they rarely notice it, there are occasions when the forty year age gap between them becomes quite obvious.
Having grown up in the nineties Kelly loves bopping along to Britney Spears on her iPod but Bob prefers his old 60’s vinyl records.
In the evenings Bob watches the news in one room and Kelly sits and watches The Simpsons in another.
It’s one of the rare times the loved-up couple are apart as they also work together as cleaners.
Rather than spend the night with friends in town, Kelly prefers cosy nights in with her man.
She said: “In the early days before Bob knew me better he would offer to take me out clubbing.
“I suppose it’s what he thought most people my age – I was 21 at the time – wanted to be doing.
“The loud music, queue for the bar and being pushed about in crowds was not my idea of a fun night but Bob was having a great time.
“I’d much rather have a night playing bingo.”
While Kelly is mature for her age, despite his 68 years Bob is a self-confessed party animal. The couple believe this age reversal is the key to their success.
Kelly said: “Bob’s such a lively, bubbly person it’s easy to forget he’s actually a great-grandfather.
“I think I’ve matured quickly for my age and Bob remains very young at heart.
“We have proved everyone who doubted us wrong.
“If people have a problem with us that’s their issue, Bob and I couldn’t be happier.”