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Channel 4’s First Dates sees Rutland driving instructor go on date with TV broadcaster India Willoughby

A driving instructor went on a blind date on national television while on his search for love.

Gareth Smith from Rutland appeared on the Valentine’s special of the hit matchmaking show First Dates.

Speaking on the show, the 41-year-old said: “Where I live is the smallest county in the country, there’s not many people within the area.

Gareth Smith and India Willoughby from First Dates. Photo: Channel 4
Gareth Smith and India Willoughby from First Dates. Photo: Channel 4

“A local girl I taught to drive set up a First Dates-style event.

“I did give that some thought but I did think I’m going to get matched up with my brother’s ex-girlfriend's cat or something.”

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Television personality and French maitre d’hotel, Fred Sirieix, welcomed Gareth into the First Dates building in Bath and questioned if he is still ‘a learner in love’, to which the driving instructor declared he was.

He was shown over to the bar where he met his date, India Willoughby, a broadcast journalist from Newcastle.

The former Channel 5 newsreader shot to fame when she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother's Year of the Woman series in 2018 and in recent years has turned her attention to transgender activism.

Gareth and India appeared to initially hit it off as they shared their views about being woke and a passion for awareness of social issues.

Despite his rural roots, Gareth also admitted he was ‘weirdly scared of horses’.

Their connection grew throughout the date and at the end the pair agreed to see each other again, although they sadly didn’t go the distance.

In a post on Instagram, India said: “Gareth is great! First Dates really do a fabulous job matching people up.

“Wonderful experience. For those asking about an update Gareth and I are still very much pals - both wokesters and can’t stand Tories.

“But we live 100s of miles apart, so no-go. Beep beep!”

Gareth’s episode aired on Tuesday last week and is available to watch on catch-up on E4.

Have you watched the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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