‘Love’ is the best word in Scrabble

Tony McKie and Alison Mullender
Tony McKie and Alison Mullender

page 12 march 30 staff pic lead, with logos etc

A CHANCE online meeting was just the formula for Alison Mullender to find her true love.

Alison, 44, went onto a social media site and began playing a game of Scrabble with a man from Jarrow.

But they also began to chat and that first chance “encounter” led to Alison and her future fiance Tony McKie meeting for the first time.

Alison, of Catcote Road in Hartlepool, said: “He was being cheeky and saying things like ‘whoever loses the Scrabble has to make coffee’. That was his chat-up line.

“I lost the game of Scrabble - and I have been making the coffee ever since!”

But mother-of-two Alison, who is a full-time carer for her grandmother Hannah Rice, 88, added: “I lost the game but I won in the end because I got Tony.”

After a few games of online Scrabble, the couple exchanged phone numbers.

They have now been together for nearly two years but it was Alison who popped the question on February 29 this year.

She said: “I first asked him to marry me last year but he did not think I was being serious. He told me he would say yes when we won the lottery.”

But Alison asked again this year and added: “I told him I was being serious and he said ‘yes. Let’s get it sorted.”

The couple have made provisional plans to tie the knot on June 29, next year but Alison admitted: “It’s quite a cost to get married.”

They are hoping their dreams would come true by winning the Bride of the Year competition run by the Hartlepool Mail in conjunction with Robert Usher Photography.

“It would mean everything to us,” said Alison, who has two children - Katie Howe, 23, and Graham Howe, 21, and three grandchildren.

Tony has two children - Chelsea McKie, 19, and Toni McKie, 17.

Alison said: “Tony does not work through having emphysema, so I am finding it hard to do everything.

“I would love to win the Bride of the Year competition.”

The couple are the latest entrants in this year’s Bride of the Year competition, in which entries have now closed.

Our eventual winner will marry at one of Hartlepool’s most spectacular settings – in the Captain’s Cabin on board HMS Trincomalee.

Then it’s on to a wedding breakfast at the Sir William Gray Suite and later a night-time reception to round off a perfect day on Friday, September 7.

A public vote to start narrowing down the contestants is likely to be held in early April.

We will choose the top entries from that public vote to go forward to the next stage which is the grand final, to be held late in April.

On the evening of the grand final, a panel of judges will interview our shortlisted finalists and decide our winner.

The Mail will then follow our victorious couple as they prepare for the wedding of their dreams.