HUSBAND and wife Ivan and Sandra Rickell are more qualified than most to run their own singles club - because that’s how they met.
Just months after getting married 10 years ago they set up Singled Out and it has been so successful they have just welcomed their 30,000th member.
The club runs every Friday night in Worksop - alternating between Clumber Park Hotel and Bondhay Golf Club - and also at Notts County football club near West Bridgford.
Sandra and Ivan got married in May 2001, the second time around for both of them, and opened Singled Out in November the same year.
Sandra, 48, said: “We never thought then that we would still be in business 10 years later.”
“When I was deciding on numbers for the membership cards I asked Ivan if we should stop at three numbers, thinking if we got to 999 that would be an achievement.”
“So to now have over 30,000 is unbelievable. We get about 25 to 30 new members every week.”
“I think it’s popular because people know it’s a safe environment to have a night out and meet people.”
“They have to become members when they join and have to show a card when they come to the nights out, it reassures people.”
The club is for the over 30s because Sandra said under 30s tend to still feel comfortable about going into nightclubs to meet people.
She said: “Some over 30s might still feel OK about doing that but a lot don’t so this is a safe alternative.”
“I think there used to be a bit of a stigma about going to a singles club, but not so much now”
“All those years ago when my friend first persuaded me to go one I remember thinking ‘oh no has it come to this?’ but I enjoyed myself and met Ivan.”
“It’s devastating when your marriage breaks down but it can help when you go out and meet other people who have gone through the same thing, and at least you are being proactive and doing something about your situation.”
Sandra believes that there is no substitute for meeting people in person, rather than online.
“You can’t always trust what people are telling you online, sometimes profile photos can have been taken 15 years ago and doesn’t look anything like them now.”
“We have people who come just wanting to make friends and have a good night out, and others who are hoping to meet someone special and get married.”
“We have been to three weddings of people who met at our club, and there have been many more, so it’s nice to know we’ve helped people get together.”
Sandra and Ivan live in Melton Mowbray and have five grown-up children between them. They make their living now from running Singled Out.
“When we met I worked in a special needs school and Ivan worked for Caterpillar Tractor, so neither of us was meeting people at work,” said Sandra.
“I think that’s the case for a lot of people which is why these social nights are successful.”
*Singled Out has a one-off membership fee of £2, then it costs £4 to go to club nights, which are held from 8.30pm to 1am. For more information go to www.singledout.co.uk