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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007, 17:11 GMT
Visa bid after councillor marries
Map of The Gambia
The couple met at Mr Thompson's hotel in Banjul
A West Yorkshire councillor has married a Gambian woman half his age within days of meeting her on holiday.

Bob Thompson, 52, is spending Valentine's Day without his new bride, Fatou Jammeh, while they wait for her visa application to be approved.

If it is approved, the 25-year-old will then join him in Elland with her eight-year-old daughter, Sira.

Mr Thompson, a Liberal Democrat councillor on Calderdale Council, said he had also converted to Islam.

He said love blossomed as they peeled potatoes together outside his hotel near Banjul on his first night, 22 December.

I sat talking then picked up a knife and started peeling also. Feelings were mutual right from the off. We just gelled
Bob Thompson

They married on 4 January and he returned home on 6 January.

He said: "I am absolutely delighted and so is she. Most of my work colleagues think I'm barking but so what?

"You can plan for years and years and after a couple of months you are divorced. It just felt right, it just seemed right."

Mr Thompson, a project co-ordinator with Pennine Housing 2000, had been divorced for three years after his 28-year first marriage failed.

Settlement visa

He said: "I met a young lady in my hotel. She was a kitchen worker and I invited her out for a meal and we took it from there."

"I was on my way out for a walk and we passed on a footpath. On my way back she was sitting on a wall peeling potatoes.

"I sat talking then picked up a knife and started peeling also. Feelings were mutual right from the off. We just gelled."

Mr Thompson has applied for a settlement visa which will allow his wife to stay in the UK for two years.

He has applied for a separate visa for Sira, who he said saw electricity for the first time when she visited him at his hotel.

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