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Can you really find Mr Right by online dating?

As Patsy Kensit takes to Tinder to find a new partner, Stephanie Bell talks to Newcastle couple Julie Gregory and Brendan O'Kane who did just that. Meanwhile, our two writers Karen Ireland and Frances Burscough share their good and bad online dating stories

Digital dating has revolutionised the way we find love with just one swipe of a smart phone promising a potential Mr or Mrs Right.

The popular dating app Tinder is now said to have 50 million active users and even celebrities are getting in on the action.

Patsy Kensit, who was once married to Oasis superstar Liam Gallagher, has turned up on the dating app.

A Tinder profile with Patsy's name, age and pictures have been spotted by other digital daters with an account bio that says: "Patsy is a modern girl in a modern world."

When it first came on the scene, Tinder was used more as a hook-up app by young people because it finds people based on their proximity to you, but now almost everyone seems to be on it.

Local couple Julie Gregory (29), who is a bar supervisor, and Brendan O’Kane, (28), a chef at the Mourne Seafood Bar, met through Tinder three years ago and are now happily sharing their lives together in a new home of their own in Newcastle, Co Down. She says:

I’d never heard of Tinder until three years ago when people started talking about it at work. I downloaded the app as a bit of craic and only met up with one other person before Brendan, but there was no chemistry there.

Finding a date online was new to me and Tinder was easy because you didn’t have to pay a monthly fee like some of the dating sites.

It also appeared to be a more light hearted way of meeting people.

To be honest I actually never expected to meet anyone on it.

I work in the hospitality industry and don’t get weekends off, so it was a great way to meet someone. Brendan had met a few girls before through the app and he was going to delete it before we got chatting. You put in your area details, age and how many miles you want the search to go before it brings up matches.

It’s very superficial, based on a picture and a few lines about the person.

You swipe if you like the picture and if the other person swipes back you have a match.

Brendan and I started to talk on Tinder and soon realised we had a lot in common. We both worked in the same industry and both love good food. We talked on Tinder for a month before we arranged to meet up at the John Hewitt Bar in Belfast. I was nervous and had a drink with my sister before to give me a bit of Dutch courage.

While I really liked him I was worried that he wouldn’t be what I expected.

The night before our date his flat went on fire in a freak accident and he had to be rescued from his balcony by a cherry picker. I suggested we put it off to another time — but he insisted we go on our date.

We really hit it off and enjoyed each other’s company. I felt as if I already knew him because we had been texting before meeting in person.

For safety I had looked him up on Facebook first to make sure he was who he said he was.

The young ones at work, who are in their late teens, seem to use Tinder just to chat to people and were surprised that I had met someone and gone on a date.

We’ve been together now three years and moved in together six months ago.

We are suited and have a lot in common. Brendan is really into his music and he is getting me into it too. He has made me hour-long CDs to play on the way to work.

Brendan is the one, otherwise I wouldn’t have moved in with him.

I’m surprised to hear that Patsy Kensit is on Tinder and wonder will people like her because she is famous? Fair play to her, all I can say is — it works.”

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