It was 11.30 in the morning and the Charlestown Square shopping centre was bustling with activity when Sharnae Furner arrived for her first date with Jimmy Berresford back in November, 2017.
Nervous but excited, Sharnae had spent the morning trying on different outfits and rehearsing things to say. She was also 30 minutes early. Having brought her mum, Gayle, for support, the duo sat to enjoy a hot chocolate in the cinema cafe while passing the time. Scanning the faces of other cinemagoers in the foyer, Sharnae spotted Jimmy – also anxiously arriving half an hour early – at the top of the stairs.
In any other situation you’d assume that the pair would have taken the initiative to start the date early. But for Jimmy and Sharnae, who are both on the autism spectrum, the thought simply never occurred to them.“I was going to arrive on time,” Jimmy states of why he stayed where he was until 12 noon.
Later, as they took their seats in the cinema, the young couple grasped hands across the armrest; a position they held for the entire film, despite the pins and needles and numb arms.
“I’d never been on a date before; I thought that’s just what you do. I thought it was normal,” Sharnae says, before confessing that they also shared their first kiss later that evening. It turned out to be the start of a beautiful love story.
Viewers of ABC’s Love on the Spectrum, an acclaimed docuseries following a group of young people as they search for love and navigate romantic relationships, were first introduced to Jimmy and Sharnae back in 2019.
And hearts melted when, in the final episode, Jimmy got down on one knee to pop the question to his girlfriend of two-and-a-half years.
Needless to say, when producers were casting the second season, a catch-up with Jimmy and Sharnae was high on their list. And they were just in time to capture the love and romance of their wedding, which took place in late January this year.
As the series gets set to return later this month, the newly-married duo invited The Weekly over to pore over their wedding photos and catch up on what life has been like in the time since we last saw them.
As we convene in Gayle’s backyard on the NSW Central Coast, the conversation is lively – and, most of all, loving. Both now 23, Jimmy and Sharnae are not remotely shy about expressing their love for each other, often flooring me with the sheer depth of their feelings. It’s something, Gayle says, that is part and parcel of autism. “Neurotypicals often envy their honesty, raw emotions and genuine love of each other,” she tells me.
It all started, Sharnae recalls, at a school-leavers’ program at the local Job Centre late in 2017. “I saw him sitting across the table and I just knew,” she says. “I nudged my friend and pointed him out. I was thinking, ‘There’s my man’.”
In other words, it was love at first sight, at least as far as Sharnae is concerned.
For Jimmy the relationship was more of a slow burn. First they started to socialise together; later he noticed the way she made him feel.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Natalie Barr ''The boys are my life''
With two teenage sons, raising boys has always been an important part of Natalie Barr’s life. Now those boys are pressing for openness and conversations about consent to become a family discussion, and the Sunrise co-host couldn’t be prouder.
Finding my funny bone
The sound of laughter has accompanied Denise Drysdale throughout her life. But with her parents never speaking of their past, where, the star wondered, did that sense of humour come from? She reveals what happened on her quest to find out.
Return to The Nest
When the kids come home to roost it seems while some things change, others remain the same.
The gift of life
In the suburbs of Melbourne, a group of selfless volunteers help vulnerable women navigate the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. And they have more than 500 healthy babies to show for their work.
“Angry, selfish, gifted, weird!”
It took 36 years for Clem Bastow to discover she was none of those things. Her autism diagnosis has changed everything for the better.
The avant-garde Princess Margaret
In the 1960s they were the royal glamour couple, but the ritzy world of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones stood in stark contrast to her sister the Queen’s.
Growing up, Dianne O’Brien thought life was good until her mum died and the mirage imploded. Her story from stolen generation to finally meeting her people is tragic, shocking, miraculous and ultimately uplifting.
All you need is LOVE
She speaks five languages and has studied pure maths. She’s performed on stage in front of thousands and is muse to iconic Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes. But it’s love that makes Jane Barnes’ world go around.
Fact sheet CBD oil
In early 2021, the TGA approved low-dose cannabidiol, or CBD, to be available over-the-counter in Australian pharmacies, meaning a prescription is no longer required. Here’s what you need to know.
Breaking the family habit
Addiction, like trauma, can run in families. Yet those very same families can be empowered to turn an addict’s life around.
INQUIRER GEORGE THOROGOOD
LONESOME GEORGE TALKS ROOTS, HIS FIRST GUITAR AND THE WONDERS OF THE ES-125
How Eating Organic Benefits People & Planet
Removing GMOs and pesticides from your diet can take a huge toxic buden from your body- and the planet
5 HOME REMODELING TRENDS TO WATCH FOR IN 2021
After a year of spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many homeowners are looking for ways to make their homes fit their new realities.
JIMMY'S JAM: HE PLUMPS UP AS RATINGS THIN - SOURCES
STRESSED “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon has been packing on the pounds as his talk show continues to battle with Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in the late-night ratings, according to sources!
HOT ON THE HEELS OF HIS AMAZING NEW BOOK, JIMMY PAGE DISCUSSES HIS EVOLUTION AS A GUITARIST, HIS LEGENDARY GEAR, THE CREATIVE PROCESS THAT WENT INTO THE HOLY TRINITY OF LED ZEPPELIN SONGS — “WHOLE LOTTA LOVE,” “KASHMIR” AND “STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN” — AND THE TIME HE PLAYED AT “FULL ACCELERATION” WITH THE ROLLING STONES
Jimmy Haslip continues to push forward the frontiers of bass guitar with album reissues, sessions and a playing style that is like no other.
Black Beauty Rides Again
One fateful day in 1970, Jimmy Page had his 1960 Les Paul custom black beauty stolen from him at a Minneapolis Airport. It took nearly 50 years, but the guitar finally made its way back to its legendary and rightful owner. Here’s the incredible story.
How Comedy (Just Barely) Survived Trump
Cracking jokes when nothing was funny
THE OUTSPOKEN STAR CHEATED DEATH AT THE HANDS OF A CRAZED FAN. PLUS OTHER REVELATIONS FROM A JUICY NEW INTERVIEW.
It was a season to remember. It was a season to forget. Either way, you look at it, it was the strangest of seasons for San Francisco that you will ever see. Looking back at the year that was to illustrate that point, The Niner Report has assembled the best, worst and most unconventional of the 49ers’ 2020 season.