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You are in: Leicester > People > Your Stories > Love Online

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Love Online

Finding love can be like finding a needle in a haystack. But one Leicestershire man has found a novel way to find love, by setting up in his own dating site called Kissing Gates.

How can you play the field when all you can see is fields?

It's hard enough for the city slickers to find love, but what if you live out in the sticks? It can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

But for one Leicestershire entrepreneur, the idea seemed challenging.

James Vestbirk from Oakham found himself as a reluctant member of a self-styled lonely hearts club when he moved back home after university.

This led him to developed a novel idea to beat the odds and find love. He set up an internet dating site called Kissing Gates.

Listen: Interview with James Vestbirk

James spoke to BBC Leicester's Chris Baxter about how he came about the idea and how it also led him to find his soulmate online.

James says it was something that was desperately needed:

"I know what it's life being in a rural community, how difficult it is to meet new people.

"I went away to university and was exposed to city life and it was a complete contrast of the two and when I came back that's when I realised how hard it was.

"When I moved back to the rural community and didn't really know anyone single."

Paul brings in the sheep at Stott Hall Farm

Rural life can make it hard to find love

James says his job also made it difficult to meet single women:

"It's a lifestyle farming is and I'm a third generation farmer and you get in a social circle in the rural community and it gets smaller.

"Facebook has made online socialising more available and socially acceptable and it's opened up different doors to different things.

"I thought what we needed is what would allow us to meet single people, like us. A sort of similar thing to Facebook for like-minded people."

"I set about launching an online dating site. People in the rural community have always been patronised because there's nothing specifically for them before. It was a nice logical thing to do. It's a lot harder to meet people as they get older."

"When I moved back to the rural community and didn't really know anyone single"

James Westbirk, Farmer and online cupid

Chris asked James whether internet is seen less as taboo now than it was five years ago?

James says he completely agrees: "Only a couple of years ago Facebook was open to just students but look at how that has changed. People are still a bit nervous but we're at the tipping point and things are changing."

James already has a success story, himself. He met someone through the site and is on a relationship now.

"We have like-minded interests and we started chatting online and then took the plunge, and asked her for a drink."

Chris confessed he also met his wife through a website and agrees it does work.

"It's still difficult to meet people in the cities, unless you meet people from work or through your friends it can be difficult."

The name Kissing Gates is quite apt for the site. James says the name came from his mum.

It currently has 1,000 members in the Leicestershire area.

You can check out the site on

last updated: 04/12/2008 at 17:27
created: 04/12/2008

You are in: Leicester > People > Your Stories > Love Online

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