Two dedicated volunteers at spectacular North East live show Kynren have an ongoing love affair for the show - and each other.

Ruth Stapleton left an unlikely first impression on Grant Younger during a rehearsal for Kynren - a captivating annual show in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

She took his breath away in rather unconventional fashion when she stamped on his stomach during a battle scene.

Ruth, 31, said: “We both joined Kynren from the start in 2016, but I didn’t notice him in the first couple of seasons because there are so many volunteers.

“I had first spotted him at an after-show 80s fancy dress party, when he was dressed as Slash, from rock band Guns N’ Roses. He had long hair, glasses and a guitar and I recognised him on site at Kynren the next day and thought ‘he’s canny’.”

“During a rehearsal in a barn for one of the battle scenes I trod on him and left a dusty footprint on his T-shirt. I apologised to him and he seemed to take it well.”

Despite those awkward beginnings, Cupid’s arrow struck and five years on the couple remain firmly in love – not only with each other, but also with the thrilling live show performed each summer in Bishop Auckland.

The Northern Echo: Flames and drums in a scene from KynrenFlames and drums in a scene from Kynren (Image: DESTINATION MARKETING)

After the pair acquainted themselves further during more rehearsals in which Grant took up a role as a Viking, they began seeing each other socially through mutual friends.

Ruth added: “We went out for drinks and when he was preparing for his diving exam as part of the show, he’d come over to my house so I could test him. It really helped to strengthen our relationship.

“Kynren rehearsals are our date night. It’s something that we both love doing and although we may not see each other too much during the evening, we’ll always check in to make sure the other one is having a good night.”

Whilst Ruth features in numerous scenes as a dancer, Grant has fully embraced his role, acquiring a Viking tattoo and buying axes and swords to decorate the couple’s home.

Such is Ruth’s support for him, she once took a night off from a performance and bought her own ticket so she could watch the scene when he emerges from the lake.

“I was shielding my eyes, I couldn’t look. I know what’s involved in the stunt so I was so relieved to see him come out of the water. When I’m in the show our scenes tend to overlap but I always have a peek over the wall to make sure he’s okay.”

The Northern Echo: Geese running across the Kynren stageGeese running across the Kynren stage (Image: DESTINATION MARKETING)

Grant became part of the diving team as a Viking after initially helping to build stone walls and doorways and carrying out repairs on the various sets in the early days of the epic show.

He also helped to build the Blacksmith’s Forge which later formed part of the Viking Village.

The 42-year-old said: “I would often spend time making knives and arrows in the forge and Ruth would always do a pre-lap of Kynren before the shows, so she’d come round and see us.

“On one occasion I wasn’t there so when Ruth came around, another volunteer told her she could bypass our bit so as not to waste her time. We both absolutely love the show – I’ve always said they’ll have to carry me out in a box before I stop doing it.”

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So could they become the first Kynren marriage?

“We’ve had lots of people from the show saying that, suggesting the Arches Hall (the dining hall at Kynren) as the perfect location with its outdoor terracing and views over the lake," said Grant.

"We’ll have to wait and see. We want to wait until the time is right, but it would be the perfect place for it.”

Book tickets for Kynren 2023 at