Every Valentine’s Day, couples up and down the country bestow gifts on one another. From flowers, to jewellery, from perfume to chocolates, partners swap lavish gifts as a sign of their love for one another.
But for one Kent couple, the gift of a man’s humble last Rolo has been credited for keeping romance alive.
On Valentine’s Day 2003, 18 year-old Mark Mintram gave his girlfriend Gemma, his last Rolo as a sign of his love.
Mark’s sweet gesture on the couple’s first Valentine’s Day together quickly became a unique tradition.
Gemma, a corporate lawyer from Lympne, says: “I kept his last Rolo and the following year, I gave it back to him with his gift. Then each year on Valentine’s Day or our anniversary, whoever had it would it give it to the other one with their present. It sounds a bit funny, but it was just something that we always did.”
When Gemma went to university in Guildford, Surrey and Mark was based in Bury St Edmunds training for the RAF, the distance didn’t halt the romantic custom, with Gemma receiving a surprise Valentine’s present one year.
She remembers: “I went to check my pigeon-hole at university and there was this little parcel there. It was a bit of shock because he had sent a ring box and when I opened it inside was this Rolo! It wasn’t always easy being apart, we made it work and it’s the little things that really made the difference.”
Despite the miles between them, the couple continued to exchange the Rolo until they moved in together in 2010, but the sentiment was never far from Mark’s mind.
On their wedding day in October 2013, while Gemma was getting ready for their big day, Mark sent a sentimental gift to his bride.
Gemma says: “His niece came up with some flowers, a DVD he made for me, which made me cry and little box containing a gold Rolo with our wedding date engraved on it. As soon as I saw it, I knew why he had sent it, it was really romantic.”
The couple, who are parents to Emily, 16 months say the classic Nestlé chocolate, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year will always have a special place in their hearts.
Gemma adds: “It’s one of our favourites, although nowadays we tend to share a bag rather than a tube, but even now, we would still give each other our last Rolo.”