Creative couple pay tribute to Cilla Black

Beach shoot by North Norfolk Visuals of Harriett Tim Caroline and Heidi on Aldeburgh beach
Beach shoot by North Norfolk Visuals of Harriett Tim Caroline and Heidi on Aldeburgh beach

A Hampshire couple have paid tribute to Cilla Black, who died suddenly at the weekend.

Caroline Dean from Highcliffe was watching Tim Saunders from Weymouth when he appeared as a contestant on Blind Date in 2001.

“I remember Cilla putting her hand on Tim and saying ‘there is a girl out there for you Chuck but God knows where’,” recalls Caroline. “I thought ‘will there be someone out there for me?’”

A few weeks later Caroline was at a placement at a school in Weymouth as part of her teacher training when she decided to go dancing at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester.

“I started dancing with Tim and thought ‘I recognise you’.”

The couple, who now live near Southampton, were married in Bulgaria in 2009 and now have two daughters Harriett (4) and Heidi (2). The couple also work together, running, which represents professional artists and craftspeople.


 Tim Saunders attended Clayesmore School in Iwerne Minster where Beatles manager Brian Epstein also attended. It was Brian who found Cilla Black.

Before the selection interview for the show in Bournemouth Tim crashed his Mazda Xedos and arrived at the interview concussed. “They obviously liked the crazy fool that appeared before them and a few weeks later I received a letter inviting me onto the show as a stand in,” recalls Tim.

Half an hour before the show number 3 still had not turned up and so Tim was invited to take his place.

“One of the questions I was asked by Leigh, the picker from Scotland, was ‘When I have a sore chest what would you recommend for it?’

“My cheeky reply was ‘My grandfather always recommends Vick but I’m afraid he isn’t here tonight so you’ll have to make do with me!

“That seemed to clinch it and I was picked. We went for a weekend to The Hague, which in the middle of February was pretty chilly. On our return Leigh took a dislike to me and things took a depressing turn especially when she called me ‘a country bumpkin’. I was at an all time low and decided to throw myself into mo’jive dancing in Dorchester. I thank Cilla for the experience and for helping me find Caroline.”

Tim adds: “I did let Cilla know my news a couple of years ago and she was happy for me.”


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