Wigan couple born on same day, in same hospital ward, and met on their 18th birthdays, to tie the knot
A Wigan couple who were born on the same day in the same maternity ward but did not cross paths again for 18 years, are set to tie the knot next month.
Shauna Gracey, who was born 13 weeks premature, came into the world just metres from her soul mate Tom Maguire, 26 years ago.
After growing up with no knowledge of each other, the pair finally met through a mutual friend whilst out celebrating their 18th birthdays.
But it wasn’t meant to be straight away, with the friendship taking months to finally blossom into a romance.
Throughout their lives, as Shauna trained to become a children’s nurse and Tom pursued a career as a mechanical engineer at Heinz, the pair have been on “the same wavelength”.
As they embark on the next stage of their journey together, Shauna says she believes “now more than ever” that fate brought them together.
Tom and Shauna were born in Billinge Hospital on December 22, 1992.
Growing up just three miles apart; Shauna, from Higher Ince and Tom from Hawkley Hall never once crossed paths.
The couple were not destined to meet until Boxing Day just days after their 18th birthday.
Shauna, now a paediatric nurse, had decided to go out dressed as Minnie Mouse with friends to celebrate the milestone occasion.
It was on this night one of her lifelong friends decided to bring Tom along, a colleague of his at the Heinz factory, where he now works as a mechanical engineer.
“From the get go he was so keen,” she said. “After Boxing night he was adamant we were going to be together. He would say he loved me and wanted to go out with me.
“But at that point I just wanted to be friends.”
From that point on Tom and Shauna’s friendship blossomed, with the pair regularly going out with mutual friends. Whilst talking they found out that they had both been born at Billinge Hospital on the same day.
“I did make it clear to him that we were just friends and that we would never end up together.
“But one night we were out and he was talking to my friend Claire, I just looked over and thought ‘oh my God I really like him’.
By the April after they met, the pair were officially a couple.
In October 2016, Shauna received the surprise of her life when Tom booked a romantic getaway to Rome.
“I was a student nurse at the time,” said Shauna. “We were both off that week and we had planned to stay in the family caravan for a couple of days in Cheshire and then a hotel for a couple of days.”
“I kept asking him if he had booked it, by the Friday I was saying ‘you really need to get organised’ but he was saying ‘it will be fine, don’t worry’.
“He told me he had a surprise for me at home. He said ‘I have ordered you a garlic bread’. I was so excited.
“We got back to his mum and dad’s and he literally had ordered me a garlic bread with cheese.
“But then he gave me a huge bunch of flowers with a card that said ‘I am so proud of you for doing your degree.
“You have done so well. Pack your bags we are going to Rome.”
Shauna, who was overwhelmed with excitement, was thrown off the scent that Tom was planning to propose by both his parents and hers.
“My mum said he better not dare propose to you without our permission,” said Shauna. “She really threw me off.”
But Tom did get down on one knee, beside the Trevi fountain, to ask Shauna to be his wife.
He asked Shauna to “make a wish”.
When it was his turn he told a thrilled Shauna that his one wish was for her to marry him.
Little to her knowledge, a man had been videoing the special moment.
“He had been acting strange,” said Shauna. “We went for some food before we went to the fountain and he was asking if I wanted shots.
“I said ‘no I don’t really want a shot with my meal’
“We had one and then he ordered another.
“He is really one in a million.
“Now more than ever I feel like it was fate that we met.
“My mum always said that the right person will always be on the same wavelength and that is what we are.”
Tom and Shauna have reached each milestone together, both completely in sync with their dreams and aspirations.
“We both know we want to have fun for a while after the wedding and to go on holidays. We have wanted everything together. When he was focussing on his career I was doing my degree.
“He says ‘ever since we met I knew I loved you’.”
Now as well as sharing milestone birthdays, the pair will be able to celebrate their anniversary together too.
The couple will be married at St Paul’s church in Goose Green on May 4.