In February of this year, Dave Knight and Dawn Anderson, both 55, signed up for Rest Less Dating, neither expecting much from the process. However, fast-forward eight months and they’re sharing a cottage in Surrey, planning their wedding, and, as Dave tells us, “Life is very good.”
“My whole life changed in the space of a few of weeks”
Until early this year, Dave, a father-of-five, grandfather-of-one, and a self-described “born and bred local Surrey boy”, had spent two years living with his mother and was coming to the end of his 37-year tenure as a postman for Royal Mail.
“I worked for nearly 37 years at Redhill Royal Mail delivery office”, Dave tells us. “And 35 years of that was spent delivering post in one little village called Salfords. It was an incredible achievement, really. It won’t happen again. It was like I was a part of the village, watching everyone grow up.”
However, in March Dave decided he wanted a change – although, he wasn’t expecting his life to change quite as much as it did. In the space of a few weeks, Dave resigned from Royal Mail, took his pension, and was offered the job of his dreams as the gardener of a famous singer.
He tells us, “Gardening has always called to me and, as I’ve become older, I’ve become more and more interested in it. In fact, I started building up gardening jobs as a postman – doing work for the people I delivered to.”
But it was when Dave checked his Rest Less Dating profile one day, that the biggest development of all happened – because this was when he met Dawn…
“As I was flicking through the profiles, Dave’s picture caught my eye. I thought he had a nice smile”
When the pandemic hit, Dawn, a mother-of-two and soon-to-be grandmother, was in Northern Ireland visiting family. For three years, she’d been working and living in Tuscany but the travel restrictions meant she couldn’t return.
After her time in Italy, she’d always planned to move down to the South of England to live and work, but the pandemic prompted her to think about bringing this plan forward. As someone who has an ‘adventurous spirit’ and doesn’t like to sit back and wait for things to blow over, in October last year she took the leap and became a live-in housekeeper in Surrey.
She explains, “I didn’t know anyone when I moved to Surrey. So, when we started to come out of lockdown, I thought I needed to meet some new people – people I shared interests with. So I thought I’d give Rest Less a go. There’s a lot I like about the website – lots of courses I can do. However, for me, it was mostly about meeting people with similar interests.
“Rest Less wasn’t just about dating. When I signed up, I wasn’t really expecting to meet anybody in a romantic sense. I’ve been on my own for many years and I like it that way. But when I saw the dating feature, I thought, ‘Why not?’
“And as I was flicking through the profiles, Dave’s picture caught my eye. I thought he had a nice smile. So we messaged each other for a few days, then we started talking over the phone, and seven months later, here we are!”
“After the first phone call, both of us knew”
Dave hadn’t tried any dating websites or apps previous to meeting Dawn through Rest Less Dating. Although, as Dawn tells us, she’s been “on and off them for years.”
She continues, “I didn’t want to use an online dating service. I was trying to avoid them. I’d just become fed up with them because it’s the luck of the draw. Everybody can put words down but when you meet face-to-face, people can be totally different. Some of them don’t even look like their photos. I once met a guy whose photograph must have been fifteen years old! I didn’t even recognise him.”
With Dave, though, things were different. Dawn says, “The way Rest Less Dating is laid out is short, sweet, and simple. Nothing long-winded. Dave’s profile was straight to the point, and I liked that. And did I mention his smile?”
“She even messaged me first”, Dave interjects.
“Did I?” laughs Dawn.
“Yes, you did. You know you did!” he replies playfully.
“Yeah, I did”, Dawn admits, still laughing. “And after the first phone call, both of us knew straight away.”
“We act like children together. I think we’re going backwards age-wise”
Dave and Dawn both joined Rest Less to find meaningful connections, not necessarily love. However, it seems they found both.
Dawn says, “We both share a love of camping. Dave and I both did a lot of it when we were growing up and I carried it on with my children. A month ago, I was able to take Dave back to Donegal in Ireland and show him where I used to camp.”
Due to the pandemic, Dave and Dawn’s first date wasn’t exactly as they imagined. However, that doesn’t mean it was any less special…
Dawn explains, “Because of lockdown, the only thing we could do was socially distance in a park. So that’s what we did. We met up in Horsham park, had a little walk around and a cup of tea. After that, we thought we’d do something extra exciting and go to Tesco. So we went around Tesco together. It was the best shop I’ve ever done.”
“Don’t worry”, Dave tells us. “The next date she went up a level and took me to Waitrose.”
“I know how to treat a man right”, Dawn laughs. “It was so much fun and he’s made me laugh every day since – sometimes at him, sometimes with him. And he does the same with me. We act like children together. I think we’re going backwards age-wise.”
“The day I proposed was already a special day in Dawn’s life, so it had to be that day”
Despite only knowing each other for a short period of time, there’s no doubt in Dave and Dawn’s mind’s that they’ve found the one for them. And in May, they became engaged.
“I did it the old fashioned way”, Dave explains. “I got down on one knee and proposed. That day was already a special day in Dawn’s life, so it had to be that day.”
Dawn explains, “Just before I came over to England on the 6th of October last year, my younger brother, Scott, passed away from a heart attack. It would’ve been his birthday on the 26th of May. That’s why Dave proposed to me on that day. He wanted to make it better for me.”
“We feel like we’ve been together forever. Someone even said to us that we seem like we’ve been for 30-odd years, not seven months! That’s the sort of chemistry people pick up from us.”
Now living in a cottage in Lingfield together, Dave and Dawn are looking forward to their wedding in 2024…
“I want to get married on a beach in Spain”, says Dawn. “And we’re going to have three receptions. One in Spain, one back in England for Dave’s friends and family, and then go back over to Ireland to have one with my family. We’ll take any excuse to have a party!”
“Dawn and I have had a lot of heartache in our lives, so to finally find each other now is amazing”
“Finding love at any time in your life can be difficult”, says Dawn. “But when you’re over 50, you tend to have a greater understanding of who you are and what you’re looking for, and that makes life a lot easier.”
Dave tells us, “Dawn and I have had a lot of heartache in our lives, so to finally find each other now is amazing. I suppose we finally know what we want and what we want is each other, with no conflict or anything like that. We have each other in fits of laughter, with no cross words, not ever.”
“We’re very relaxed”, Dawn agrees. “I think that’s an advantage of finding love over 50, you don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.”
Dawn’s moves to Italy and England and Dave’s career change in later life have shown that they aren’t afraid to jump into things with both feet. However, never has that been more true, it seems, than in their relationship.
To anyone thinking about looking for love, Dawn says: “Go for it, absolutely! What have you got to lose? Life’s too short.”
Have you found love recently? Or has Dave and Dawn’s story inspired you to try Rest Less Dating? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.