TWO former ballroom dancing instructors are set to marry this weekend – 50 years after they first met.

Roger Caldwell, 68, and Linda Downes, 70, from Birchwood, first met in 1967 while training to be ballroom and Latin American dance instructors in Manchester, alongside their friends Kath Mould and Dave Downes.

After qualifying, Roger went on to marry Kath and Linda married Dave, with both couples going their separate ways to raise families.

In 2009, some 40 years after they lost contact, Roger was looking up old friends on the Court School of Dancing’s Friends Reunited page and spotted Linda’s name.

He got in touch and discovered that both Kath and Dave had passed away from pancreatic cancer, Dave in 1998 and Kath in 2008.

The pair stayed in contact, rekindled their friendship and their dancing days and have been together ever since. Roger said: “It’s strange how life works out.

“The four of us shared such good times together. It was a lovely surprise to find Linda again after all these years and a shock to discover that both Kath and Dave had died of the same illness. It’s such a tragic coincidence.”

The wedding will take place at Cottons Hotel in Knutsford on Saturday and at least a dozen of the wedding guests are old friends from the dancing school.

The happy couple are looking forward to sharing the dancefloor with them once again.

As for their first dance, Linda says they are still deciding between a Caribbean foxtrot or the paso doble.

Linda added: “We feel very lucky that we have found love again, and we know Kath and Dave would be happy for us.

“We wanted to pay tribute to them at the wedding, so we thought it would be a good idea to suggest donations to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund instead of wedding presents. As you can imagine, we have both accumulated all the household goods that anyone could ever want.”

Maggie Blanks, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, said: “This is a lovely end to a sad story and we are very happy for Roger and Linda and their families.

“Their generosity will ensure we can continue to fund world class research towards our goal of developing an early diagnostic test and new treatments for pancreatic cancer, and we are very grateful for their support.”