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Let there be love: Well-known Northern Ireland faces on their Valentine's plans

As the most romantic day of the year draws closer, Kerry McKittrick talks to well-known people to find out their plans for Valentine's.

Kirsty McMurray (42) hosts the Breakfast Show on Downtown Radio and has a morning slot on Downtown Country. Kirsty lives in Bangor with fiancé, Andy Brisbane, and her children Conor (15) and Katy (16) from a previous relationship. She says:

"I'm working on Valentine's Day so I'll be able to play lots of romantic songs and send out lots of mentions to people. I'll be leaving the house before 9am, so I doubt I'll be getting breakfast in bed.

We've decided to have a nice meal on either Saturday or Sunday night so we can have a small glass of wine.

Andy and I do mark Valentine's Day but I think it can put a lot of pressure on couples. We don't go out for dinner because it can be expensive.

I'd rather spend the money on a really nice home-cooked meal.

While flowers are a nice touch, there are other tokens of love too."

Judith Cochrane (38) is an Alliance Party MLA for East Belfast where she lives with her husband Jonathan and their daughters, Emma Rose (9) and Jessica (6). She says:

"We don't celebrate Valentine's Day because we met on February 15. On our wedding day, Jonathan told our guests that we met because I was on the pull after a disappointing Valentine's Day.

So, we tend to celebrate on the 15th because it's become a significant number in our relationship. We also got engaged 15 weeks later, got married on the 15th and completed the sale on our first house on the 15th, too. While we may go for a nice meal on the 15th, I'm not expecting flowers - I never get those."

Caroline Curran (31), who is best known for her role as Maggie Muff in the stage adaptation of 50 Shades of Red, White and Blue, lives in Belfast with her fiancé Chris. The actress says:

"I'm not really a Valentine's Day person. Although, I do like a bit of romance I've never liked February 14th. You don't need one day a year to buy a load of stuff to show someone you love them - a surprise on any other day of the year would be better.

My fiancé Chris is a bit more romantic than I am. He'll make an effort to cook a nice dinner and give me a card and flowers or something nice like a necklace. He can't let the day pass and, because I know that, I usually buy him something in return.

This year we've decided to tone it down though and we're only going to exchange cards which is a bit of a relief to be honest."

Jo-Anne Dobson (48) is a UUP MLA. She and her husband John live on their farm in Waringstown. They have two sons, Elliott (24) and Mark (21). She says:

"I'm married to a farmer so I never get any Valentine's gifts from him.

One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me was on Valentine's Day seven years ago.

My son Mark had just had his kidney transplant the week before so both John and myself were running between the farm and the hospital.

We arrived home on Valentine's night to discover a Marks & Spencer meal for two with Prosecco and a single red rose on the doorstep.

I knew right away who it was from - my best friend Louise Peacock. Knowing we would be back in late from the hospital, she realised I wouldn't have had time to organise anything so she did it. The funny thing was I wouldn't have got anything anyway as I never do.

Louise passed away last week after a long battle with cancer so I've been telling that the story to everyone I meet. It was such a nice thing to do from a wonderful friend who will be sadly missed."

Steve Turnbull (28) hosts Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights on Cool FM. Steve lives in Craigavon with his fianceé, Sophia. He says:

"Sophia and I actually had our first date on Valentine's Day so it's become something of an occasion for us. It's also very easy to remember - so I never get into trouble for forgetting it.

The two of us were signed as models at The Style Academy before we started dating. Then we started chatting on Facebook and I asked Sophia out on a date - which just happened to be Valentine's night. We had dinner, then went on to a comedy club - it was great craic.

We tend to push the boat out on Valentine's. On our first anniversary Sophia dragged me out wearing a suit in the pouring rain only to surprise me with an overnight stay at the Fitzwilliam Hotel. This year we're going for a romantic getaway at the Slieve Donard hotel. I might have bought her a few love tokens - but that's a surprise for tomorrow."

Belfast Telegraph


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