A FORMER Runcorn soldier has been reunited with her teenage sweetheart – 26 years after they first fell in love.

Colette Baldock met Stephen Dowd when she was 17 and he was 18.

“I joined the army and left the area,” said Colette, 46, of Wharfedale, who served in the Womens Royal Army Corps for five years, including the first Gulf War.

The couple, who knew each other at Norton Priory School, went their separate ways.

“My mum and his mum grew up together,” said Colette, who worked for the government for 15 years after leaving the army and spent 19 years living in Yorkshire.

“We met each other again at the Norton Arms pub and started dating in July 2014. It was love at first sight.”

Stephen proposed whilst they were on holiday in Mauritius and they plan to get married in June next year in Gretna Green.

The couple are now working together in a new business venture, A-Z Blinds and Shutters.

They have opened a shop on Egerton Street, Runcorn, to expand the company which was established 27 years ago.

Colette, who works as a postlady two days a week, added: “We’ve got three daughters between us, three grandchildren and one on the way.

“We’ve opened a new shop and it is fabulous to be working together.

“It is love second time round.”

Their family run business has supplied and fitted blinds and shutters for thousands of customers.

The firm offers a wide variety of vertical, roller and venetian blinds and cater for both domestic and commercial customers.