Childhood sweethearts get married almost 40 years after losing touch
‘I can’t believe we found each other again’: Childhood sweethearts who lost touch after school tie the knot almost FORTY years on – after reconnecting on social media
- Carol Verity Mann-Sebbage was 12 when she first set eyes on now husband Mike
- Both were students at boarding school Box Hill School near Dorking in Surrey
- When older boy Mike left the school the love letters they exchanged petered out
- They lost touch and both went on to marry and have children
- In 2011, both single, they found one another on the Friends Reunited website
Two childhood sweethearts who lost touch after school are inseparable once again – after finding each other almost 40 years later on social media.
Carol Verity Mann-Sebbage was just 12 when she first set eyes on her now husband, Mike Sebbage, in 1972, when they were both pupils at the Box Hill boarding school near Dorking in Surrey.
Carol quickly fell for ‘cool and gorgeous’ older boy Mike, then 14 and a drummer in the school band, but when Mike left the school the love letters the pair exchanged eventually petered out, and they went their separate ways.
Carol, now 58, of Cockfosters in North London, and Mike, now 61, went on to marry and have families, but in 2011, both single again, they found one another on the now defunct Friends Reunited website, which led to conversations on Facebook, a reunion picnic near their old stomping ground Box Hill, and eventually, their wedding.
Now Carol and Mike, who have a combined six children from their previous marriages, are business partners as well as husband and wife, and ‘cannot believe’ their luck at finding one another again.
‘I never thought I would marry my first love,’ said Carol.
Carol and Mike, seen in a school photo from 1972, first met at Box Hill School, near Dorking in Surrey, where a 12-year-old Carol was smitten by ‘cool and gorgeous’ older boy Mike, then 14 and a drummer in the school band
After finding one another on the now defunct Friends Reunited website in 2011, Carol and Mike rekindled their romance, and ultimately tied the knot in 2015 – watched by their combined six children from their previous marriages
Carol Verity Mann-Sebbage and Mike Sebbage lost touch for almost 40 years after parting ways upon leaving school, but now they’re happily married and running businesses together
Carol, who now runs internet businesses We Get Digital and Women on the Web with Mike, 61, said: ‘I look at the old picture of us and cannot believe we found each other again.
‘Mike is the nicest, kindest man and I am so happy we were reunited.’
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The couple’s eyes first met back in September 1972 when, studying at private boarding school Box Hill School, near Dorking, Surrey, Carol, then 12, was bewitched by an older, 14-year-old boy, – Mike – who played the drums in a band.
‘He was so cool and gorgeous,’ she smiled. ‘I can remember writing ‘I love Mike’ on my school books, after seeing him for the first time on the school lawn.’
Carol and Mike, who tied the knot in 2015, are now business partners as well as husband and wife, decades after they first met as boarding school pupils in Surrey
Carol, now 58, and Mike, now 61, now run digital businesses together, and say they’re thrilled to have been reunited after decades apart
Innocently dating a few months later, smitten Carol’s heart was broken when, by then 16, Mike left school the following year.
The lovelorn teen even poured her heart out about Mike to her dad, actor Walter Gotell – known for his role as KGB head General Gogol, opposite Roger Moore as James Bond – in letters home.
‘Even though Mike left school, we still continued our little romance,’ she said.
‘He’d come to see me and visit his old pals.
‘But, over time, the visits and the letters became less and less frequent and dried up.
‘I was genuinely heartbroken, after being in love with him for nearly two years.’
Carol, who is mum to three sons, Alex, 26, Nick, 25, and Jamie, 22, and a daughter, Tasha, 18, said she can still remember scrawling ‘I love Mike’ on her exercise books as a schoolgirl
Mike, who has two children of his own, a daughter Jo, 24, and son Harry, 20, said Carol is the ‘love of my life’, and he’s written a song for her now they’ve been reunited
Carol and Mike are seen enjoying a holiday together, after reuniting after almost 40 years with no contact at all
After leaving school, Carol moved to Tarifa in Spain to teach English and forgot all about him.
Returning to London, where she started working in property, she went on to meet her first husband in 1989.
Meanwhile, Mike started working in sales and marketing and also married and started a family.
But, when their paths crossed again online in July 2011, Carol and her husband had just decided to separate and Mike’s marriage had also ended.
‘We’d spotted each other on the website Friends Reunited and then started chatting on Facebook,’ Carol recalled.
‘I looked at his profile picture and thought he was still gorgeous. He still had that charming, cool look about him that I fell in love with all those years ago.’
Exchanging messages on Facebook, when the pair revealed they were both newly single they formed a plan to meet within the next two weeks.
Choosing a picnic spot in their old stomping ground, near Box Hill School, when Mike climbed into Carol’s car outside the pub where she had arranged to collect him, he leaned in for a kiss.
‘He put his finger to his lips, as if to say, ‘Don’t say a thing,’ and then kissed me. We hadn’t even said hello,’ Carol recalled.
‘That was it for both of us. We knew it was love and we have been together ever since.’
Then, over a picnic near their old school, the pair caught up on the three-and-a-half decades when they had been apart.
‘It was perfect,’ Carol smiled. ‘Mike was the same and I felt so young around him.’
Carol and Mike, who initially kept their reunion under wraps, eventually moved in together and tied the knot in 2015 at Enfield Register Office in North London
The couple threw a party to celebrate after their low key ceremony, Carol said, complete with an ‘inflatable pub’ and curry on the menu
‘The internet brought us back together and is now the bread and butter of our business,’ says Mike, who calls Carol ‘the love of my life’
Keeping their romance a secret, they split their time between Carol’s home in Cockfosters and Mike’s place in Hereford – 155 miles away.
Then they revealed their romance to their families – Carol’s sons Alex, 26, Nick, 25, and Jamie, 22, and daughter Tasha, 18, and Mike’s daughter Jo, 24, and son Harry, 20 – and they were all thrilled to see them so happy.
Mike then moved in with Carol in April 2013, before proposing in August 2014 on a caravan holiday in Swanage, Dorset.
Finally, tying the knot on September 18, 2015, at Enfield Register Office in north London where we had old school friends come celebrate.
‘We had a big party in our garden the day after we tied the knot,’ Carol said.
‘We had 140 guests, an inflatable pub, ate curry and celebrated all night long with Mike’s band playing too.’
And, ironically, after meeting in an age when the internet would have sounded like science fiction, not only did it bring them together, but it is now providing their income.
‘It is strange that the internet brought us back together and now is the bread and butter of our business,’ Mike said.
‘Seeing Carol again was incredible, 39 years after we first met in 1972. We hadn’t seen each other for so long but she was exactly as I remembered.
‘She is very warm-hearted and I have even written a song for her too, she is the love of my life.’
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