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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Alan Farthing: 'No-one can replace Jill'
Alan Farthing
"We very quickly fell in love"
Jill Dando and Alan Farthing announced their engagement on 31 January 1999.

At the time Miss Dando said: "It is a very strong relationship. It's changed the way I look on life. When there are two of you, you have a lot more to share."

A few months later Jill Dando was shot dead outside her west London home.

Mr Farthing issued a brief statement on the day of her death which simply described his loss and bewilderment: "I am totally devastated and unable to comprehend what has happened," he said.

Spending time together

The couple first met at a blind date organised by a mutual friend in October 1997.

"We hit it off and very quickly fell in love," he said when he was recalling their meeting while testifying in court at the trial of Barry George.

Alan Farthing, a consultant gynaecologist at St Mary's Hospital in London, was married in 1990, but when he met Jill Dando he was already separated from his wife Maria.

Jill Dando, a BBC journalist and TV presenter had been through a number of relationships which had buckled under the pressure of work.

But the two of them seemed to hit it off immediately. After just a few months they went on holiday to Australia together for the New Year and then took a skiing trip in the spring of 1998.

After Mr Farthing's divorce came through the two announced their engagement and set a wedding date for September 1999.

"When she was in London, the best part of the time she spent with me at my home. Whenever she was free, we spent as much time together as possible," he said.

The wedding was booked for a church in Putney. The night before Miss Dando was killed, the couple were at Mr Farthing's home in Chiswick, West London, drawing up their plans for the wedding reception.

Life without Jill

Mr Farthing left for work the next morning as usual - leaving Miss Dando still in bed. A few hours later he was told of her death.

Two years on Mr Farthing is attempting to put his grief behind him. He was recently photographed by the Sunday Mirror newspaper with actress Helen Hobson - and he confirmed that they have been seeing a lot of each other.

Miss Hobson has starred in the West end musical Wuthering Heights and has had parts in Cats, Les Miserables, My Fair Lady.

In a statement issued after the two had been snapped together he said: "This is hard for me - no-one can replace Jill. Helen and I have become close friends. Who knows what might happen."



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