First Dates couple’s wedding plan – despite heartbreaking diagnosis that could cut short their future

When Zoe Welch downed a pint in seconds on the TV show First Dates, her future partner Mike Sumner was stunned. His drop of a skill and stunned response was one of the highlights of the series.

The couple have hit it off and have even moved in together since filming the show in the spring two years ago. Now they go one step further after Mike pops the question to which Zoe happily gave a big yes, reports Grimsby Live.

However, not all has been joy since they met. For ex-driving instructor Mike has been diagnosed with a motor neurone disease which is incurable and which doctors have warned could mean he has just five years to live.

Mike said: “I refuse to be gloomy for the duration of my life. I am determined to live in the moment with Zoe and make the most of the time I have left.”

First Dates airs on Channel 4 and shows people on dates, all of whom have never met before. At the end of the date, the couples are interviewed together and asked if they would like to meet again.

Mike, 38, immediately left with Zoe, 31. The couple have lived together for over a year in Sheffield and feel the show was the catalyst that helped them find ‘the one’.

The couple got engaged while on a trip to Florida, with Mike proposing exactly two years from the day they first met. He said he never would have believed he would be in this position if he had been told about it a year ago.

Recounting how the proposal went, he said: “It wasn’t a complete surprise for Zoe. Due to my condition, I can’t go out as much these days, so I had already asked her about her height. ring and she had also mentioned that she would say yes if I asked her so I was quietly confident!

“I decided to take the ring in my hand luggage on our last vacation to Florida a few weeks ago, I was really hoping they wouldn’t check everything at the airport, but for sure. We visited a cute little town called Celebration, in hindsight that was probably the best place I could ask her.



Mike hopes to make it to his wedding day after popping the question to his longtime girlfriend Zoe Welch, pictured

“We walked around a lake and about two-thirds of the way we sat on a bench and I just took out the ring and asked her to marry me with a smile on her face. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get down on one knee because I would never get up.

“Although I wasn’t nervous about what Zoe would say, I felt strangely uneasy about the whole thing because I had never asked anyone to marry me before. It was a uncharted territory for me, to say the least. I never knew if I would have the opportunity to ask someone to marry me with my illness, but everything seemed to be aligning well. “

Mike also opened up about how his relationship with Zoe has been a topic of conversation in the media. While they could have been more private, he thinks the public nature of it all is what got them to this point. He said: “I often think about it, but if we weren’t willing to go on national television, we would never be where we are.

“It’s weird that people recognize us now and that, but that’s the path we’ve chosen to get us to where we are.” Speaking about proposing and the upcoming wedding, Mike said he never knew if he would find the right person and now hopes he can make it to his wedding day.

He explained: “The opportunity had never presented itself before, however, it seemed so right for me and Zoe to pop the question. I’m glad I managed to do it and hopefully we can see it. until the end now.



Mike Sumner and Zoe Welch found love on Channel 4's first dates (Image: Mike Sumner)
Mike Sumner and Zoe Welch found love on Channel 4’s first dates

“Part of me worries that I won’t make it to the wedding day, but if I just thought like that I might drive myself crazy, I try to appreciate the little things in life as much as possible. Some may ignore these things or I take them for granted, but I try to absorb and assimilate everything as much as I can.”

Looking ahead, Mike and Zoe are very excited about the upcoming wedding and hope to get married later this year or early next year. Mike explained: “We are both very excited and a number of doctors have also said that it would be good for me to have something to aim for.

“If there isn’t something to work towards, people with my condition can often degrade, but something like this keeps me connected and focused. I never thought this would happen there. a year ago. After seven years of being single, I have a fiancé in the next two. I’m now trying to live my life to the fullest.”

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James B. Helms