AFTER being apart for 16 years a couple have been happily married after rekindling the love they had for each other as teenagers.

Hairdresser Laura Wright, 34 and builder Sam Cooke, 34 were happily married on July 8 at the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens in Barrow.

This pair of country lovers regularly travel throughout the Lakes, summiting some of the most challenging peaks, from Scafell Pike to Helvellyn.

Sam said: “As a family we have always come here and that is why we wanted to be married here. Some of our favourite spots include Ulverston, Coniston and Grasmere.”

The couple's love originally dated back in the early 2000’s when they were both 18, however after separating it was not until 30 June 2016 that they got back in contact on Facebook.

For their first date the couple enjoyed a romantic picnic out in the country and after that ‘things happened quite quickly.’

When asked how she thought Sam had changed over the years, Laura said: “He had grown up and was definitely better looking. We both had just grown into the people we needed to be.”

Sam said: “Laura had changed a lot and at first I didn’t even recognise her.”

Then on November 8 2017 Sam proposed to Laura at one of their favourite Thai restaurants.

Laura said: “I was very surprised even though we had talked about it before. It was all very romantic as he got down on one knee.”

Sam said: “She was very happy when I proposed, gobsmacked even and a few tears came out.”

Preparations for the wedding started in March of that year as the couple looked all over the Lakes for a perfect venue, eventually choosing the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens in Barrow.

Laura said: “We had a look around and new instantly this was the place. From then on the staff at Abbey House managed everything-they were absolutely amazing.”

On the day, the couple were joined by 50 members of their immediate family and closest friends.

Their ceremony took place in the Great Hall and after they enjoyed a beautiful three course meal, all catered by the Abbey House Hotel.

Sam said: “Everything on the day was perfect, couldn’t have gone better.”

Laura said: “We really didn’t want a big wedding, but after we were still able to celebrate with everyone who couldn’t come as we decided to have a large party at home.”

As part of their honeymoon the couple also spent five nights at the hotel, taking time to enjoy each others company and to go on more of Sam’s favourite walks in the Lakes.

The couple asked to thank everyone who came to make their day so special and to everyone from the Abbey House Hotel.