A COUPLE whose grief at losing their spouses connected them across thousands of miles have announced on live radio that they will marry this year.

Redcar-based Gordon Mogg, 66 and South African-born Rose Browne, 56, first connected via facebook after both suffering the heartbreak of losing their spouses.

Mr Mogg lost his wife Kath in June 2015 through Multiple Sclerosis and he shared his sadness with BBC Tees radio host Paul 'Goffy' Gough and kept radio listeners updated via Goffy's Sunday Ínspirations' feature.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Ms Browne was coming to terms with losing her husband Michael in 2014.

The pair found each other online and communicated via facebook messenger before meeting up in Ms Browne's home in Durban.

Mr Mogg said that their connection helped him out of a dark place, leading to 'much brighter days' and ultimately to a summer wedding in July this year.

Mr Mogg said: "Life today is in total contrast to the position myself and Rose were in and we are so lucky and cherishing every second of our time together.

"We know that both Kath and Michael would want us to enjoy our lives."

Ms Browne added: "Life is really strange at times - it deals out the cruellest of blows and somehow it can heal by meeting lovely people in those moments of despair.

"Losing my husband Michael was truly painful and heartbreaking in every possible way. Meeting Gordon totally changed my life during the personal crisis and he has brought back the much brighter and happier days into my life - when I thought it would never be possible.

"Our story is a clear shining light to others that you can recover from horrific personal pain."

Ms Browne has now moved to Redcar and is busy planning for her summer wedding.

Mr Mogg's sons Andrew, 38 and Graham, 36 will be best men for the couple and granddaughter Evei, four, will be bridesmaid.

Ms Bowne's daughter Christine, 31 will also be a bridesmaid, and her son Sean, 24, will lead her on the day.

Ms Browne said: "I have no doubt that the day will be full of so many emotions - for which we are both prepared."