Maxim’s destined for Sidmouth!

Thomas and Barbara when they met in Sidmouth in 2000

Thomas and Barbara when they met in Sidmouth in 2000 - Credit: Archant

Love blossomed for two teens who met while studying at Sidmouth International School – and they are already planning for their little boy to follow in their footsteps.

Barbara and Thomas with little Maxim

Barbara and Thomas with little Maxim - Credit: Archant

Austria-born Barbara and Belgian Thomas met at a beach barbecue in 2000 and were friends right away, but it took years for them to fall for one another.

Thomas proposed in 2011 on Sidmouth’s beach, and now they hope four-month-old Maxim can continue their connection to the town.

“It was obvious from the beginning that he would be coming to Sidmouth – but he’s going to have to grow a bit first,” said his mum.

Barbara first came to the town because her mother knew a teacher who brought groups of Austrian students to learn English.

The young student met Thomas on her third trip to the international school – at 15 she was living in town and with the freedom to move about as she wished.

“I liked Thomas straight away, but didn’t think I would really like him to be my boyfriend,” said Barbara, 30. “I thought he would never be interested in me.

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“He is much more calm and intelligent - I’m more outgoing.

“I thought the girl that ended up with him would be really lucky – I didn’t think it was going to be me!”

But it was Thomas who gave chase. He was insistent that they meet up and made several attempts to do so.

Now a pharmacist, he had planned a European road trip that was to take in her home city of Vienna, but it fell through.

Finally, in 2008, they were reunited – and love blossomed from there.

In 2011, Thomas surprised Barbara with a trip to Sidmouth and, returning to the beach where they first met, proposed.

Two years later, they were married and now the couple, who live in Brussels, have welcomed young Maxim to the world. And his mum has already written to Sidmouth International School to say: “You can already inscribe him in your database as he will be coming to Sidmouth to learn English once he will be old enough.”

School director Jane Dumenil said: “We were delighted to receive [their] letter and are so pleased to be part of such a positive and romantic story.

“Now we are looking forward to welcoming Maxim to the school when he is old enough.”