Forces sweethearts: Medic set to marry injured sailor she treated
AN armed forces medic is set to tie the knot with a sailor who she nursed back to health.
Fate threw Zoe Cardwell and Nathan Riley together in Portsmouth in 2005 when Mr Riley returned from Royal Navy duty with a broken elbow.
The pair had met previously but sparks flew when an injured Mr Riley — a leading engineer technician — walked into the treatment room.
Miss Cardwell, aged 34, said: “I was a medic in the Navy and I met Nathan and his friends.
“I was quite shy so my friends introduced us. We were just friends back then.
“Nathan had broken his elbow while out on duty and I was the medic treating him.
“We just started talking and hit it off. One of my friends could see there was a spark between us.
“They gave us a gentle shove and it started from there, really.”
The couple first met aboard HMS Ark Royal in 2001. They were friends, but went their separate ways in 2003, until Mr Riley’s accident two years later.
Eight years on and the couple live together in Ellesmere Road, Morris Green, with their two children, Aaron, aged seven, and Madison, aged seven months.
Mr Riley, originally from North Wales, is away on duty until Christmas, while Miss Cardwell has left the Navy and is now on maternity leave from her current job at Hocus Pocus Nursery, Tonge Fold.
The couple now have the chance to win a dream wedding and honeymoon after their heartwarming story was shortlisted by Real Radio.
They are in the running to scoop a Mamma Mia themed wedding at the Blackpool Imperial Hotel plus a five-star luxury honeymoon to Crete.
Miss Cardwell added: “We’ve not had the time or money for a wedding, so this can be the brilliant day we’ve always wanted.”
Voting for the remaining 10 contestants closes on Thursday, September 26, at which point five contestants will go through to the next round.
Voting for the final five couples closes on Thursday, October 3.
The winners, who will also get an overnight stay at The Imperial Hotel in Blackpool and tickets to see Mamma Mia, will be announced on Real Radio North West on Monday, October 7, between 6am and 9am.
To vote, go to realradionorthwest.co.uk/win
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