Real life Shirley Valentine who kissed a local teenager during a family holiday on a Greek island MARRIES him 30 years later after bumping into him by chance
- Colette Mitsialis never thought a holiday crush would become her husband
- 51-year-old travelled to Paxos after divorce to relive childhood memories
- She rediscovered her teenage fling Andreas and the pair fell in love
- Couple met again by complete chance and call it the 'perfect love story'
When Colette Mitsialis was a teenager, she enjoyed year after year of happy family holidays on the Greek island of Paxos.
She made friends with the Greek children there and one summer, she even had a holiday crush on a local boy, Andreas, now 47. The pair flirted and kissed, before she left the island for good.
In the years which followed, Colette, from Preston, Lancashire, went on to get married and divorced - before deciding to embrace the single life and treat herself to a holiday. And she realised that Paxos - which held so many happy childhood memories - would be the perfect place.
And it was there, 31 years after their first meeting, that Colette was reunited completely by chance with her teenage crush, Andreas, and the couple fell in love all over again.
Now happily married, they spend holidays in the little Greek town which brought them together.
Colette, 51, says: 'I had so many happy memories of my holidays as a kid and so I decided to return after my divorce, because I had felt so at home there.
'I took with me lots of old holiday photos, for a trip of memory lane, including one of Andreas and me, sitting in a taverna.
'I retraced my steps and managed to find the bar again - and when I walked inside, Andreas was right there, at the bar! I couldn't believe it. It was as though time had stood still completely.
'I had never thought we would meet again - and certainly never dreamed we would be married one day. Incredibly, he had lived all over the world and had only returned home for a short visit, so it was an amazing coincidence that we met up.
'It's the perfect love story.'
Colette began visiting Paxos when she was 14, with her parents, Hugh and Marjorie, and her brother, Scott.
She says: 'When my mum announced she had booked us a holiday on a Greek island, I was less than impressed. I loathed hot weather. I was a typical moody teenager too, and hated the idea of spending my school holidays on a small far-flung island.
'After our flight, we had to catch a small ferry over to Paxos. The boat was the only way of getting supplies onto the island and so we had to share our seats with live animals and boxes of fruit and vegetables. There were chickens squawking everywhere and I was less than impressed.
'When we arrived, we had to walk up a stony track to our holiday villa, which didn't even have electricity. I remember groaning and sulking all the way!'
But the next day, Colette began to warm to her new holiday destination.
She says: 'It wasn't very touristy at all and so Scott and me got friendly with some local teenagers in the nearest town, Lakka. We went fishing and swimming and had a great time. In the evenings, we'd hang out in the taverna called 'The Harbour Lights.'
'I met Andreas that first summer, but he was four years younger than me, so he wasn't really part of the crowd. He spent most of his time with his mother and to me, he was just a kid. I knew his older brother fancied me, but it was nothing serious.
'After our holiday finished, we stayed in touch with our new friends, writing letters, over the winter. I couldn't wait to go back there and we begged my mum and dad to book the same villa the following summer.'
Colette and her family visited Paxos every year - and during her fourth holiday, she and Andreas, who by now was 14, began flirting and even shared a kiss.
She says: 'I realised I really liked Andreas. We got chatting and he was lovely. He had gorgeous eyes too, but it was a teenage crush; nothing more.
'When I was leaving, I gave him a kiss, and he blushed. I said I might see him the next summer.'
But it was to be Colette's last holiday with her family. By the next year, she was grown up, and had a job and plans of her own.
She met a serious boyfriend, John Haslem, and in 1997 they were married. But they grew apart, and in 2005, they divorced on friendly terms. Colette found herself single once again.
She says: 'I fancied a holiday, but I wasn't sure about going somewhere new on my own. I suffered with epilepsy, which had got worse over the years, and I didn't want to go to a place where I didn't know anyone, in case I was ill.
'And so I decided that Paxos would be the perfect place, because I knew it so well. I couldn't wait to go back there and see how it had all changed.
'I looked it up on Google Maps and saw a car park, which astounded me, because there had been no cars at all the last time I'd been there.
'I wasn't really thinking about Andreas because I didn't for a minute think he would still be there, over 30 years later. My holiday was more of a trip down memory lane, to see the beaches and the bars again and see how things had changed.
'I packed some of my old holiday photos, including one of Andreas sitting next to me in the local bar, just in case they helped me to retrace my steps around our old haunts.'
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