Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A story with an unusual ending

When Charlotte Morgan's husband was killed in a light aircraft crash, she was left to bring up their two toddlers alone. By the time Zoe was 11 and Will was nine, they were pleading with her to find them a new father - but date after date that the widow found through lonely hearts websites ended in disappointment.

So the 41-year-old model turned businesswoman joined another dating site, handed over her laptop and told her children: 'This is a daddy shop. Pick one.' They searched through pictures of potential suitors to see whether they had 'nice smiles' and 'kindness in their eyes', and eventually chose Guy Bolam, a 44-year-old divorced father of one from North London.

Mummy sent him an email and they went on their first date, hitting it off immediately. Within nine months, financial adviser Mr Bolam was asking the permission of Zoe, Will and his own daughter Rose, then 14, to propose to his girlfriend. Now all are living happily together in her £1.3million medieval timbered farmhouse near Ongar, Essex.

She told the Daily Mail: 'I'd been on about five dates without the assistance of the children theyear before, but there was just no spark so I gave up. 'Then Will said to me one day, "We need a new daddy. What are you going to do about it?" He was 15 months old when his father died, so he had never known what it was to have a dad. 'Guy was the kids' first and only choice and it turned out I was his first ever online date.'

Miss Morgan, a former cover girl who modelled for fashion houses Burberry and Jaeger, saw her life fall apart when her ex-RAF pilot husband Fred Bassett, 34, was killed in a mid-air collision during a pleasure flight over Essex in April 2000.

Mrs Morgan was left alone with her children at their secluded 13th-century home, which is believed to have been one of Oliver Cromwell's armouries, with mummified cats in the walls and its own 8ft moat.

The determined widow pulled herself back from her 'numb' grief and worked for Sotheby's auction house before co-founding a successful London photographic agency, Morgan-Lockyer, in 2002. She threw herself into extreme sports and rode powerful motorbikes, earning the nickname 'muddy' for trying to be both 'mummy' and 'daddy'. But a father figure was missing from her children's lives.

As for Mr Bolam, he and his first wife Nicola divorced when their daughter was small. Rose, now 16, said she was wary when she discovered he had joined a dating website. 'I thought, "Oh dear, my dad's stooped too low",' she said. 'I was concerned that he'd find some weirdo instead of a nice normal person. 'But I knew that I wanted him to meet someone. I couldn't picture him as 70 or 80 alone in his rocking chair. He wasn't happy being alone.'

The pair's first date at a gastropub went well, but a few days later Mr Bolam phoned up to break the news that he was in hospital, having broken his arm and pelvis in a crash.

Miss Morgan, who has retained her maiden name, said: 'After I hung up I turned to my friend and said, "He's perfect, he's a complete idiot". I like men who are obviously reckless.'


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