Jess Anderson,16, gave up everything when she moved in with her former teacher Clive Richards, 50.
As I looked at my timetable with my friends we cheered. It was RE next and we really enjoyed it.
Clive Richards had started teaching Humanities at my school, Mounty’s Bay in Penzance, and he made the lesson fun – he always listened to our opinions.
When he left in March 2007 we were all a bit sad – he was a good teacher.
Mum was obsessed with me doing well in my GCSE’s. She was really pushy and wasn’t happy unless I was studying. I had a curfew of 6pm – it was embarrassing.
“You have to be the best,” she would say. I felt suffocated but concentrated on making myself the perfect daughter by studying hard.
Later that year I got a summer job at a local shop and my friends would come visit me, including Clive’s son Benjamin, 15.
At the end of August my mum and brother started rowing. Then she broke the news that we were going to have to move because she couldn’t afford to live in our house anymore.
I remembered what a great listener Clive was and asked Benjamin for his email address. We started chatting on MSN and my problems poured out.
Clive always reassured me and said what I needed to hear.
After a couple of months of chatting I realised my feelings were developing into something more. I had a boyfriend at school but it was nothing compared to what I was feeling now
In October a big group of us went kayaking, including Benjamin and Clive. Everyone started to wade into the water and I asked Clive to hang back.
“I really like you – more than just a friend,” I blurted out.
He was shocked. “You’re just 16,” he said, shaking his head.
Soon afterwards Benjamin told me that his home life was bad as his parents were arguing.
“Are you ok?” I asked Clive on MSN.
“Not really,” he replied. “Julia says she has never loved me in the way that I wanted her to.”
In December, just before Christmas, they split up. Julia knew about my chats with Clive and she wrote him an email saying she was happy for us to pursue a relationship.
So on the 21st December I went and had coffee with Clive. As he dropped me off at home that night he kissed me gently on the lips. I had never felt so happy.
But Clive was worried. “You are 16, Jess,” he said.
“I am more than just an age,” I said.
I would go round to his house but nothing more happened sexually. Benjamin was always there and we would never have done anything while he was around out of respect.
Plus we didn’t want to rush into anything and were happy to wait until after my exams to be together properly.
But then it was taken out of our hands. On the 17th January 2008 I was pulled out of class.
“The police are here and want to talk to you,” my head teacher said. Somebody had called child protection and they had come to see if I was at risk.
I had already been researching my rights on the internet as I knew people would try and stand in the way of us, so I answered their questions unfazed.
As I left the interview I knew I had to tell my parents, so I went to Clive’s and wrote a long email to my mum explaining what was happening. She rang the moment she read it.
“You are ruining your life,” she said through tears.
But being with Clive gave me what I had always wanted – independence.
As the news of our relationship got out people grew hostile towards us but that just brought Clive and I closer together.
I still haven’t spoken to my mum but I don’t miss her – I have my new life now.
I don’t notice the age difference between Clive and I – we have so much in common.
We read a lot and enjoy the same music and films. We also enjoy pottering about the house, cleaning and doing the garden.
Marriage has been talked about but my education comes first. I’m hoping to go on to study law at university.
I am the happiest I have ever been. Clive completes me and I hope one day other people will accept how happy we are and let us get on with our lives.
Clive says: “Jess and I compliment each other and I find it hard to imagine life without her. We are just a normal couple who want to live a quiet life and be happy.”