Relationship Advice

“Meeting Max has opened up a whole new life for me!” How one couple found love after loss on Valentine’s Day

And as you’ll find out, Beryl and Max’s love story is more than just a feel-good tale…

By: Ellie McDonald

Then-widow Beryl Hodgetts, 74, had only just retired when she decided to join a Heart Foundation Walking group – a decision that would lead her to meeting her now husband, Max, 80.

"Max and I sung in the choir at a church that we both go to," Beryl tells us. "We didn't really know each other before that, but when Max and I both got invited to a choir get-together, we just started talking."

It was then that Beryl, who, before meeting Max, had been a widow, told Max, a new widower himself, of her love of her new walking group and invited him along to walk with her. And, by no coincidence, the pair took their very first stroll on Valentine's Day six years ago.

"We ended up walking together and got to know each other and the relationship developed from there."

One year later, Beryl and Max solidified their love with the ultimate gesture – marriage.

"We got married the following year after our first walk on Valentine's Day. We had the wedding where we live now – we got married in the bush – and had an afternoon tea with family and close friends."

Six years after going on their first walking 'date', Max and Beryl are still going strong.

What happened next

"Meeting Max has just opened up a whole new life for me. I'd never lived in the country or near the bush, so it's opened up a new world for me."

"I have young grandchildren so we now have time for my little grandchildren, which opens up a grandchildren world for Max, whose own grandkids are grown up and married."

But aside from forging a love that's given each of them a renewed lease on life, Beryl's commitment to her health is almost as strong as her adoration for Max, which is why she's urging others to look after their heart in more ways than one this Valentine's Day.

"Walking is exercise that's good for your bones, but it's also very social," she says."My group and I have coffee after our walks, and we sit and chat. The main thing is meeting up with people and getting out of the house (particularly when you've retired)."

What walking can do for your heart - and your health

Not only that but walking is free and good for your heart health, and is proven to be a great way for people to meet their exercise goals (as well as reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease by as much as 50 per cent).

"So instead of staying at home and pottering around your garden, you're laughing, you're talking – it's good for your whole being," Beryl says.

We're with you, Beryl. We're with you.

To learn more about Heart Foundation Walking, to join a free, local walking group or to walk solo, visit or call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12.