Bowled over by ‘lovely’ man

"I was in the kitchen and she was in the lounge, and I just yelled to her: ‘Would you like to get married?

"She said ‘yes’ — and then she went back to what she was doing."

It may not seem like the most romantic marriage proposal in the world, but for Dennis (80) and Isobel (72) Sharp, time was of the essence.

"This last little bit in life, we want to share it together," Mr Sharp said.

That was a few months ago, and yesterday the couple were married in the chapel at Dunedin Hospital, where Mrs Sharp is an administrator, surrounded by about 50 of their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends.

Although the couple have each been married twice before, they have known each other for many years through a common love of bowls.

In fact, at one stage in their lives, they worked together. Mr Sharp was  president of the Dunedin Umpires’ Association and Mrs Sharp — previously Mrs Bell — was the secretary. Their respective spouses  died within a month of each other last year.

Keen bowlers Dennis and Isobel Sharp were filled with tearful joy after getting married in the...
Keen bowlers Dennis and Isobel Sharp were filled with tearful joy after getting married in the Dunedin Hospital chapel yesterday. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery.
At Christmas, the Umpires Association had a party which Dennis and Isobel attended.

"Of course, we were individuals, on our own," Mr Sharp said.

"So I said to her, ‘come on, come and sit over here with me’. We sat and had the dinner together, and it went from there.

"I don’t know whether you believe in karma, but it’s just flowed."

Mrs Sharp said when Mr Sharp yelled across the room and asked her to marry him, she thought "yes please" but tried not to look too eager.

"He’s lovely, a really nice man, very cherishing and caring. And we get on very well together and have a lot of laughs.

"I think laughs are quite a good cement for a relationship."

Despite both being in their "twilight" years, they said their relationship was making them feel 20-30 years younger.

"When you find somebody that you’re compatible with, it lifts your spirit and lifts your whole feeling for living again," Mr Sharp said.

"We’ve both felt that."

It seems Mrs Sharp struck the jackpot in her new husband. He is so well trained, he made their wedding cake for the big day — a dark fruit cake. All Mrs Sharp had to do was ice it.

"It’s a team effort," she said.

"It looks good, but the proof in any cake is when you cut into it."

As for their honeymoon, the couple said there would not be one — at least, not right away.

Mrs Sharp has a catering appointment for her bowls club next week and Mr Sharp is tutoring new bowls umpires.

"We’re hoping to do the train trip from Christchurch to Greymouth sometime before we cark  it," Mrs Sharp said.

"But for now, we’re really happy to just enjoy life together."

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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