Rita Gilmore runs The First & Last, a restaurant on Alderney in the Channel Islands. When she’s not running up and down the stairs serving customers, she sings in a choir and models for her local dress shop.
“I was born and bred in dear old Devon but I ended up here in Alderney after they bought the breathaliser test to the mainland. Overnight, the pub I was running with Morris, my husband-to-be, collapsed as nobody could reach us without a car. Eventually, we found a pub for sale here – it was a broken down old dump but it was cheap, so we made the move and luckily it was a success. I was only about 35 at the time. Since then, we bought this property and created the First & Last restaurant – and here I am, still running it, aged 84.
Morris had a massive heart attack at 74, even though he was as fit as a fiddle. When you lose your partner, there’s a big void and you have to make the decision to start a new life for yourself. We got along extremely well, even though I hated the sight of him at the beginning! He was short and stocky and I was taller than him, especially in my heels, but kindness and a sense of humour are far more important and he had both of those in spades. He absolutely loved life. I still believe the secret to a happy marriage is lots of sex, but I look at older men today and think good grief, I couldn’t dream of dating again!
I still believe the secret to a happy marriage is lots of sex!