True love, for better, for worse


“He returned to Wales where he was treated in Morriston hospital and for the past year and a half he has been recovering and he's finally back on his drum kit,.

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Left: The couple on their engagement night. Below: Kirsty and Chris at a school prom in 2007.

The engaged couple on Valentine’s Day 2012.

True love, for better, for worse Some couples are just meant to be. Samantha Booth meets two people that have been struck by the love bug for nearly six years after traumatic events that brought them through thick and thin.

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IMS for life: go to university, graduate from university, try and get a job, meet someone rich and famous and get hitched. Well, maybe the rich and famous goal is too ambitious, but marriage is a goal that most students expect to score post-university. However, those lucky in love couples that have found the one, debatably have a different set of goals than this. Kirsty Lloyd, 21-year-old Medical Biochemistry student, is head over heels with her partner of six years, 23-year-old Chris Billingham. The pair, from Gorseinon, Swansea, have been engaged since December last year. Kirsty was 15-years-old at the time and had always had an attraction to her friend’s older brother, Chris. “I wasn’t looking for anything serious and I didn’t realise I liked him for a while, because I was good friends with his sister, Heather. “I never expected to get into a relationship with him but it just happened. He kissed me one night and it just went from there. And without sounding naïve, within two weeks, I knew I would be with him forever. It just felt right.” Unfortunately, it was not all plain sailing for the couple. Two months into the relationship, problems began to arise. Chris’ sister, Heather, had made it clear she was unhappy with them being together, leading to serious disputes and a parting of ways.

“His dad had a phone call from a band member saying they were cutting his legs off to get him out of the car” “Out of nowhere, Heather decided she wasn’t ‘ok’ with it anymore. I would not be allowed in his house if she was there because she didn’t feel comfortable in her own home. This continued for about four years and we would argue over it a lot as he didn’t feel like he could stand up to his family and I was too shy and timid back then to say anything myself. “We broke up for a short period in March 2010 but we quickly realised that nothing was worth getting between us.” Neither of them saw what would be coming next; at the end of April, Chris left for a month long European tour as a drummer in his band, Lost in Thought, to promote his album, Opus Arize. Whilst travelling in Slovakia, the band were in a serious car crash, cutting the tour short and leaving Chris fighting for his life. “Chris was the only one hurt in the crash and his band mates left him there, alone. “His dad had a phone call from a band member saying they were going to have to cut his legs off to get him out of the car. His family flew out to be by his side,

without offering to take me with them, and I was left in Swansea, agonizing about his life.” In Slovakia, Chris had to undergo several operations on his legs, none of which he has kept record of because of the language barrier at the hospital. Fortunately, the result of the operations was that surgeons were able to save his legs. “He returned to Wales where he was treated in Morriston hospital and for the past year and a half he has been recovering and he’s finally back on his drum kit, starting a new project with his friend, Dan Angelo, in a band called Pyrrhic.” Since the accident, the couple have gone from strength to strength in resolving the family feuds, with them allowing Kirsty to move in with him for a period to aid his recovery.

“He got down on his good knee and opened a box with a stunning, white gold, diamond ring in” “On our five year anniversary, Chris took me to the Grape and Olive restaurant where we sat at table 22, our anniversary date. “He led me to the window to admire the scenery and he told me to look over at the Grand Theatre where I saw the giant LED banner scrolling across it, saying ‘Will you marry me, Kirsty?’ “He got down on his good knee and opened a box with a stunning, white gold, diamond ring inside which I couldn’t have chosen better myself and he asked me with trembling hands to marry him.” Marrying at an early age is a controversial topic. Arguably, most students would see this decision as ‘life ruining’ and restraining on future choices. Kirsty begs to differ on this assumption, as she knows the life change will have an effect but is willing to take the leap. “It definitely does affect my life as a student. It was difficult trying to find time for study and work around seeing Chris whilst he was housebound, but I am finding it easier this year. It’s hard because I don’t want to feel like I’m putting him second to anything but he has been so supportive recently, it puts my mind at ease. “I never would have got engaged at this age. Before I met Chris, I had a plan to study hard, go to medical school and become an amazing doctor, earn loads of money, adopt babies and live life as a single mum. “In five years, I hope that I’ll be in a secure job and be working my way up. I wouldn’t mind a small wedding: just him and me but after such a spectacular proposal and an amazing engagement party, I think we deserve to celebrate in style.”

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