By Mollie Mansfield
A loved up couple with a 19 year age gap are hitting back at strangers who verbally abuse them in the street.
Stephanie Jarvis, 24, and Andrew Bird, 43, met four years ago and have been repeatedly mistaken for father and daughter.
The pair, who now live in Inverness, Scotland, have been taunted by strangers claiming that Andrew must be a ‘cradle snatcher’ or a ‘child fiddler’, and refer to Stephanie as a ‘gold digger’.
After first meeting in the café that Stephanie was waitressing, they are now engaged and have started planning their wedding.
The couple, who have the full support of their families, insist their relationship is no different to any other.
Stephanie, a coach driver, said: “When we’re out in public together, holding hands, we get called all sorts.
“Andrew has been called a cradle snatcher, and a child fiddler, and I often get called a gold digger.
“We just try and shake it off because it tends to be more awkward for the person who is saying those things, especially when they see we’re not bothered.
“Having the support of my parents, and even Andrew’s children, is the most important thing. If our loved ones aren’t bothered, then why should anyone else be?”
Andrew, also a coach driver, initially met Stephanie when she was 20-years-old and working in a café that he would frequently visit in between shifts.
After their romance blossomed, Stephanie moved from the remote Orkney Islands, Scotland, to be with Andrew in Inverness.
Stephanie added: “One month after we had met, and I had closed the door on my previous unhappy relationship, Andrew asked me if I would run away with him to his home town.
“I packed up my stuff and went to be with him, because I didn’t want to be without him.
“I left behind my mother, father and brother – but I called my mum to let her know about Andrew, I just said ‘but I’m nervous to tell you- he’s older than me!’
“My mother and I were a bit dubious at first because I was only 20 at the time, but then everyone started to notice how well he was treating me, and how happy I was – and that’s all that mattered.
“Since I moved three years ago, I have trained to become a coach driver, we’ve got engaged and we’ve started planning our wedding.”
Despite having the acceptance from her family, and even being called ‘Mumma J’ by Andrew’s three children, the couple have had their fair share of horrible comments.
She added: “The most poignant memory that I have of us being mistaken for father and daughter was when we went to a fair ground.
“I took his children on one of the rides and Andrew was holding the bags, and I ride attendant asked if ‘daddy is paying?’
“I simply replied, ‘no, but my fiancé is,’ and the attendant just went completely bright red – he was more embarrassed than us.
“We also get the horrible comments and dirty looks, but we’re not bothered. We’re happy and that’s all that matters – it’s no one else’s business!”
After getting engaged in 2013, Andrew and Stephanie are now planning their wedding, and hope to have children of their own in the future.