Are you still looking for love? Maxine Gordon meets a matchmaker who believes your Valentine is out there.

LESLEY BREWER knows a lot about matchmaking. She's spent most of her life playing cupid for her friends, family and colleagues.

And she knows what it's like to be on the other side of the love match game - it was a mutual friend who introduced Lesley to her husband, Geoff, some 33 years ago.

So confident is she in her matchmaking abilities that she has set up her own dating business, The Introduction Company.

Based at Brawby, near Malton, Lesley says her approach is different from other dating agencies because she insists on the personal touch.

She interviews each client personally, refuses to hand out photos or profiles of clients and instead sets people up on blind dates.

"I play the role of the old fashioned matchmaker," she says. "I get to know all my clients first, they become friends. Then I introduce one friend to another. I use my instinct and intuition."

Although clients might like to see what their match might look like or what their interests are, Lesley refuses to give too much away before the date.

"The problem with handing out photographs and profiles is that you make a judgement," she says. "You might decide: 'there's no way I would go out with someone like that', but when you meet them, you might think they look more interesting."

Lesley also believes there is someone out there for everyone - but you have to be patient and realistic.

"If you are looking for Brad Pitt, well tough - join the queue. Several ladies have mentioned George Clooney or Kevin Costner. But we don't know what these people are like. They might have beautiful eyes, but what are they like as a person?"

To date, she takes credit for putting several couples together. One pair under 30 have just moved in together; another two are still going strong after eight months while a third couple are reaching their third anniversary.

Clients are promised six introductions when they join the company.

"It could take six weeks before I think of someone to introduce them to. But I had one lady and I thought of someone for her the very next day!" said Lesley.

Before Lesley starts matchmaking she first gets to know each client, finding out about their relationship history as well as how they imagine their lives to be.

"I like to know what's made them the sort of person they are today, about the relationships they have had.

"If they are divorced, I might ask how that came about, what type of person their partner was and how things changed when they married.

"I ask them about their hobbies and what they do at the weekend. Then I ask them what they would like to do at the weekend if they met the right person. All of a sudden you get a picture of what they would like their life to be like."

Her clients come from a 50-mile radius of her home - about an hour's drive - which takes in York, Scarborough, Whitby, Leeds, Hull and Cleveland. It means that prospective dates are guaranteed to be pretty local.

At first, people can book for an initial consultation for £35. Next stage is to register, which costs £70 and involves Lesley taking a detailed personal assessment which can take up to two hours. When a first match is found, clients then pay £240, which entitles them to six introductions. Lesley can offer evening and weekend appointments at her base in Brawby.

Lesley says she has people aged from their 20s to their 60s all looking for love. And she is confident that, given time, they will find it. But she warns: don't expect to be bowled over by cupid's arrow. Love is something to be cultivated and not necessary found at first sight.

She said: "Love is not a science. Love is crazy. As James Taylor said: 'Love is friendship set on fire'. You need to find a really good friend and from that love can develop."

To find out more, phone 01653 669430 or visit:

Updated: 11:15 Tuesday, February 14, 2006