Grandma heads to Italy to find love on TV show

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

A SIN­GLE grandma from Mir­field will ap­pear as a con­tes­tant look­ing for love on Chan­nel 4’s First Dates Ho­tel.

Joyce Hod­son-Wil­son was one of a lucky few – picked from 300,000 ap­pli­ca­tions – to ap­pear on the hit dat­ing show.

But Joyce, a for­mer school­teacher, didn’t even ap­ply.

Her daugh­ter Grace signed her up with­out telling her mum.

So when Joyce, 63, got a call from one of the show’s pro­duc­ers she was ex­tra sur­prised – but also the last of her friends and fam­ily to know.

Joyce said: “I knew it was my daugh­ter.

“She had an­nounced it on Face­book so lots of peo­ple knew but I’m not on Face­book so I didn’t.”

Nev­er­the­less, Joyce was de­lighted to be short­listed and af­ter two in­ter­views she was off to the lux­ury Aquape­tra Re­sort, in South­ern Italy, to meet her date.

Many peo­ple find the prospect of a first date daunt­ing with­out the added pres­sure of film crew, but Joyce took it in her stride.

The mum-of-two said: “My agenda was to en­joy it and if I met my dream man it was a bonus.

“I’ve seen peo­ple on the show be­have in an off-hand way if their date doesn’t work out but I wasn’t go­ing to do that.”

De­spite be­ing filmed around the clock Joyce said she loved al­most every minute of it.

Joyce, who taught at Royds Hall School, Pad­dock, and Mir­field Free Gram­mar, said: “It was fan­tas­tic and I would go again.

“The crew and pro­duc­tion team and ev­ery­one that looks af­ter you was amaz­ing and gen­uine.”

She added that maître d’hô­tel Fred Sirieix and bar­man Mer­lin Grif­fiths are just as lovely in real life as they ap­pear on screen.

Joyce said: “They were great. They’re just like they are on the TV.”

So did Joyce find love in Italy? She’s stay­ing tight-lipped but she ad­mits she was ‘on a high’ through­out the day. She added: “I still am.” First Dates Ho­tel con­tin­ues on Chan­nel 4 on Mon­days at 10pm.

A date is yet to be set for the screen­ing of Joyce’s date.

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