Southwick couple have their own happily ever after

Online dating – the modern cultural phenomenom which has proven its worth over the past decade by matching millions of couples across the world.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 9:55 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:34 pm
Keeley and Jay Proctor exchange their wedding vows at St John's Church, Rowlands Castle. Picture: Carla Mortimer Photography

And Keeley and Jay Proctor from Southwick are just one of them.

‘We met online in 2014. Jay was away on deployment at the time so we spoke for five months before we even met,’ explains Keeley.

Originally from Liverpool, Jay works as a clearance diver in the Royal Navy while Keeley is a medical receptionist.

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Keeley and Jay with children Riley Proctor and Daisy Shelley. Picture: Carla Mortimer Photography

After chatting online from February 2014, the couple met for the first time in the autumn.

‘I was quite nervous because we had spent all of that time speaking but had never met.

‘I said to Jay that to prove it was him, he had to send me a picture of him with his finger on his nose,’ laughs Keeley. ‘It worked, though.’

The couple had their first date in Slug and Lettuce, Gunwharf Quays, and have barely been apart since. The next eight months flew by for the couple who claim they have never come out of the so-called ‘honeymoon stage’.

The proctors pose for their wedding photographs. Picture: Carla Mortimer Photography

However, in June 2015, Jay was deployed to Bahrain in the Middle East. But little did Keeley know that he had a big surprise for her.

‘It was awful when he left. We were still in the honeymoon period and we had spent so much time together – it was weird when he wasn’t there,’ says Keeley.  

While in Bahrain, Jay, 25, had Keeley’s engagement ring made with her late grandmother’s precious diamond.

‘Little did I know that my mum had given Jay the ring before he left,’ explains Keeley, 30. ‘I had no idea.’

From right: Mum Joanne Elliott, Sasha Madden, Daisy Shelley, Riley Proctor, Shaun Brooker and bride Keeley. Picture: Carla Mortimer Photography

Jay flew home early from his deployment to surprise his fiancée-to-be in January 2016.

‘I thought I was going to lunch with my mum in Portsmouth. But when I arrived, all of my friends and family were at the Slug and Lettuce where Jay and I first met at,’ squeals Keeley.

‘He was there and proposed to me at the table we sat at on our first date. I didn’t even know he was home. I was just so emotional that everybody was there.’

‘We came home, dumped his stuff and started planning that weekend.’

And before they knew it, their autumn wedding day had arrived at St John’s Church, Rowlands Castle.

‘I was just generally excited but Jay was so nervous.’

With all of their family, friends, children Riley and Daisy, the Proctors definitely had a day to remember.

‘Everything was perfect – I wouldn’t change a single thing,’ reminisces Keeley.

For their honeymoon, the newlyweds had booked a short cruise before they moved into their new house in military quarters.

‘When we moved our house needed so much work, we decided to cancel our honeymoon and put the money towards the house instead,’ explains Keeley.

‘But we eventually went on our honeymoon last year on a cruise for 15 days.’

For Jay and Keeley, true love definitely does exist. And the celebrations didn’t stop after their wedding as they welcomed another baby Proctor into the world six months ago.  

‘He is the perfect husband,’ she laughs, ‘and I am not just saying that.

‘I would genuinely change nothing about him. We have such a good friendship above everything else – there is no one else I would want to spend my time with.’

‘We miss each other so much when he’s away with the navy, but we always pull through.’