It only takes a minute (or three) to fall in love

PUBLISHED: 07:51 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:09 28 May 2010

DAVID WALTERS

DAVID WALTERS

By JAMES BURTON SPEED-DATING came to Saffron Walden on Thursday evening, giving singles in the area the chance to meet someone special. Mix Meeting People, a Saffron Walden company set up in October last year, held its first speed-dating event in the Sa

MATCHMAKER: Kate Hanlon of Mix Meeting People.

By JAMES BURTON

SPEED-DATING came to Saffron Walden on Thursday evening, giving singles in the area the chance to meet someone special.

Mix Meeting People, a Saffron Walden company set up in October last year, held its first speed-dating event in the Saffron Hotel last week.

Kate Hanlon, who together with David Walters directs the company, said: "The event was brilliant and went really well. Everyone enjoyed it and a lot of the people there told me afterwards how good it was."

Kate set the company up to give singles in and around Saffron Walden the chance to meet other people.

In speed-dating, each person present chats for three minutes to each member of the opposite sex.

After each three-minute period, a bell is rung to signify that it's time to move to the next person.

The daters then tick a box on a form they are given, to show whether the person they were chatting to was a match or not.

After the event, if two people have both ticked each other as matches, Mix Meeting People will let them both know and they can then arrange to meet again to get to know each other better.

"It was really hard to get people to stop talking after their three minutes," said Kate, "I'd ring the bell but people would just carry on chatting because they were getting on so well.

"In the end I resorted to acting like a schoolteacher and walking around the room, trying to usher people on to their next date!"

The event was attended by 15 men and 15 women in the 35-48 years category.

The room in which the speed-dating took place was set up with candles, vases of flowers and small sundaes of confectionery and chocolate to sweeten the atmosphere.

Quiet romantic music and a friendly and relaxed feeling pervaded, perfect for a pressure-free evening of meeting new people.

Gisela Baker, a 47-year-old administrator from Saffron Walden who was at the event, said beforehand: "It's just a bit of fun.

"Even if I don't meet someone special, this is a good place to meet new friends."

Vonny Buck, a Cambridge resident who works in accounts, went along to the evening with a friend.

She said: "I'd seen speed-dating on TV and decided it was a good way to meet people without worrying about going out alone.

"I really enjoyed the evening and would definitely go again. Of the 15 men I spoke to, I ticked six of them as matches. They all seemed like decent folk, and were very well presented."

Afterwards, some of the people who took part lingered at the bar, chatting to others they had met over a quiet drink.

Paul Bussie, a journalist in his forties who lives in Bishop's Stortford, had been speed-dating before.

He said: "It's a great way to meet new people - how else could you meet 15 women in one evening?

"Personally, I didn't tick any boxes tonight, but I'd definitely go again. I'm a bit of a serial speed-dater, this was my sixth event.

"You get a real buzz when you get home, after meeting all those people. The feel-good factor is a big part of it and chatting to people like that really boosts your confidence."

Mix Meeting People is organising future speed-dating events in several different age ranges - 25 to 38, 35 to 48 and 48 plus.

To find out more about the sessions, call them on 01799 513533 or 07725 246619, or visit their website at www.mixmeetingpeople.com

Write and tell us what you think of speed-dating as a way of meeting a partner - Editor.

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