A pair of NHS workers who couldn’t see one another due to their PPE said the eye contact between them is what made them fall in love.
Nurse Ollie Foster, 43, and orthopaedic specialist Helen Birch, 33, “communicated through their eyes” behind visors when they first met on the ICU of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
They started working together when Helen was transferred to Ollie’s same ward when she volunteered to help in critical care when the pandemic broke out.
The couple “hit it off” immediately, Ollie said, as he described how he had been single for two years and had given up on finding love due to how he’d been hurt in the past.
“We were total strangers and had never come across one another before, but we connected immediately and could communicate so easily, even non verbally as it was like we were communicating through our eyes, behind our visors.
“We worked so well together as a team, we bounced off each other straight away.
“We were dressed head to toe in PPE so at first, we didn’t even know what each other properly looked like. All we could see were one another’s eyes.
“She has amazing eyes. They drew me in.”
The two one day shared a break at the end of a shift out of the hospital’s ‘red zone’, meaning they could remove the PPE and finally see each other’s faces.
Ollie and single mum Helen then added each other on social media but soon realised it was hard to chat due to their different working hours.
But Ollie was “intrigued” and started inquiring about her with colleagues. The word got back to Helen and the two eventually started chatting on social media before arranging to have a coffee together in the hospital canteen before starting their shifts.
The two have since developed a happy relationship and have formed a support bubble so they can be together without keeping a two-metre distance.
“It has been harrowing working in the hospital during the pandemic, but it has been wonderful to find some light and positivity through it all,” Ollie said.
He said the fact they both have the same career has helped their relationship as they understand each other’s struggle and can predict how they will react.
The 43-year-old nurse is now planning to take Helen out for an Italian dinner as soon as restrictions relax.
Helen, who wasn’t actively looking for a relationship either, said: “Ollie is such a kind and caring person with a huge heart. He can make any day brighter even in the middle of all the chaos. I feel so lucky to have met him.
“We make the perfect team and I think we will be able to tackle anything that life throws our way as long as we are together,” she said.
” I’m so looking forward to our future adventures.”