Journalists find romance on NCE refresher

Picture: Journalists Fran Duckett-Pike and Jake Rusby, who first met on an NCE refresher course.

Romance has blossomed for two journalists who met on an NCE refresher course.

Jake Rusby, a reporter working at the Hemel Hempstead Gazette, and Fran Duckett-Pike, a journalist working at The News, Portsmouth, first met on an NCE refresher course run by Johnston Press at the Northampton Chronicle and Echo in March 2008.

Fran sat the NCE in March and was yesterday delighted to discover she had passed the NCTJ’s senior journalism examination. Jake passed the NCE in November.

Jake said: “On the day of the refresher I didn’t really speak to her, but at the end of the day three of us who attended the refresher shared a taxi back to the train station and it was then that we started talking.

“I handed her my card in the taxi and then it turned out we were all heading to London and we sat together and chatted for the next hour until London.

“The next day I got an email from Fran and we have been seeing each other ever since, usually travelling to stay with the other at the weekend.

“We even attended another NCE refresher session together and we had to introduce ourselves to the session. I admitted Fran and I met each other at the last refresher which must have seemed quite strange to all the other reporters attending.”

He said: “If there was no such thing as the NCE we never would have met so I’m very grateful to the NCTJ for getting us together.”

"It is always great when people ask about how we met and I get to tell them the story. It's definitely one to tell the grandkids!"

Fran said: “When I met Jake I thought he was a really lovely and funny guy, there was an instant spark, so I knew we would see each other again.

“He gave me his card, which was a great move as it was guised under a work premise. We emailed for a while and eventually began talking on the phone, it was like I had known him all my life.

“We have been together almost two years now and have been doing long-distance the whole time.

“I know it sounds cheesy, but I really believe I have met my soul mate, all thanks to that course. We are now planning our future together, buying a house, kids - the lot!

“It’s great that we are both journalists, it means we have similar interests and both understand the pressures of our job. I can’t imagine not having him in my life now and it is all because of the NCE course.

“I first went on the course to learn about my exams, and came back with a boyfriend. We have both got our NCE now and so have gone full circle!”

Jake completed his NCTJ preliminary Certificate in Journalism on the accredited MA Journalism course at Salford University while Fran completed her NCTJ preliminary training on the accredited MA Journalism course at the University of Sunderland.