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Disabled couple say it was love at first sight

Carl Ashcroft and Tracey Stewart eating a meal
Carl Ashcroft and Tracey Stewart eating a meal Image credit: liverpoolecho.co.uk

A disabled couple who said it was “love at first sight” have shared their story to inspire everyone looking for a soul mate on Valentine’s Day.

Carl Ashcroft and Tracey Stewart first met at Southport Revitalise retreat in May 2015, little did they know it was to be the start of a beautiful relationship.

The bond was strengthened a month later when Carl helped Tracey through the grieving process after she lost her mum.

Both of the lovebirds need around the clock care from their families, Tracy, 50, has muscular dystrophy and Carl, also 50, lives with spina bifida, but their disabilities form no boundaries falling madly in love with each other.

Carl told Liverpool Echo: "It was love at first sight, I'd have got down on one knee but it would've taken me until Tuesday to get back up.

"We were close friends. She was with my best friend for five years then they split up and I waited four years before I asked.

"I was made up. I made lifelong friends there too, a lot of friends.

"She's my world, she's turned my whole world around."

Tracey lives in Halfax, Carl is from Burscough, so there is a fair distance between them but the Revitalise resort, which provides accessible breaks, is the perfect place for the couple to meet in a safe environment.

Carl admits the distance “can be hard” as he “can’t do anything unless I know she’s ok”, but the two speak to each other on a daily basis.

He said: "It will work out. There's love out there for everyone. I found mine, you will find love sooner or later.

"My dad and sister are happy for me. Tracey calls my dad her dad and my sister loves her to bits, so do I.

"It's a whole different world since I've been with Tracey, but a happy world."

He added living with a disability can be "tough" but you "haven't got a choice but to live with it".

The couple are well looked after when they visit Revitalise, which also provides breaks for carers across the UK.

Tracey said: “We love Revitalise, the staff are all very nice. The last time we went they put a big table out for us with flowers and candles and a little bottle of wine.

“Carl is always sending me flowers any chance he gets, anniversary, Christmas. He’s already sent me a card for Valentine’s Day.”

Rebecca Young, Director of Strategy, Impact & External Affairs for Revitalise, said: “When it comes to holidays, we all just want a break from our day-to-day, to get out and have fun; however, disabled people can face huge barriers to doing so. A distinct and practical lack of accessible places is one thing, but it’s even harder for those who need care support.

"At Revitalise we give people like Tracey and Carl a place where they can enjoy time together, and love without limits.”

Carl sent Tracey a special teddy bear made with flowers holding a heart for Valentine’s Day.