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St John's Wood couple find love in Golders Green charity shop

PUBLISHED: 12:10 31 August 2012 | UPDATED: 12:17 31 August 2012

Charity shop wedding: Seyedmahdi Manafi met Cassia Gagliardi when he sheltered from heavy rain in North London Hospice shop in Golders Green where Cassia is a volunteer.

Charity shop wedding: Seyedmahdi Manafi met Cassia Gagliardi when he sheltered from heavy rain in North London Hospice shop in Golders Green where Cassia is a volunteer.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Most people visit charity shops expecting to find a bargain but one customer unexpectedly found love.

The whirlwind romance began when Seyedmahdi Manafi, 34, ran into the North London Hospice charity shop in Golders Green Road, Golders Green, to shelter from the rain.

It was there he met Sunday manager Cassia Gagliardi and one year on, the couple tied the knot at St John’s Wood Church where they exchanged vows in front of 30 close friends and family.

Mr Manafi, a former GP who is studying clinical opthamology at University College London, said it was love at first sight.

He said: “Cassia is so clear. You see this when she talks to you and when she tells you what her ideas are. You can’t find this quality easily out there. She’s also very clever.”

In March, Mr Manafi proposed next to the famous statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Ms Gagliardi, 43, who is of Italian origin but was born and grew up in Brazil, said the proposal was completely unexpected.

She said: “I was not expecting it and did not think he would propose so early.

“I have been proposed to five times before and against all the odds I said yes this time.”

Barriers

The couple, who live in St James’s Terrace Mews, St John’s Wood, have also overcame cultural and religious barriers to be together.

Mr Manafi is an Iranian Muslim and Ms Gagliardi is half-Jewish and half-Catholic.

Mr Manafi said: “Despite our different backgrounds we have very similar views on life. I think it’s significant that we started our relationship in a charity shop. I think that is God’s blessing on our lives.”

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