Sara's story was presented in BBC drama Three Girls

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After years of watching First Dates, viewers should expect to feel an emotional gut-punch at least once in an episode.

However, some viewers were touched nonetheless by the appearance of Sara Rowbotham, a sexual health worker who was a key part of uncovering the child grooming horrors in Rochdale.

And now, years after the incidents became public knowledge, she’s looking for love again – and fans of the show couldn’t be more keen for her to find happiness…

More: Lisa Riley speaks out on harrowing abuse behind BBC drama Three Girls

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Sara, 50, was at the centre of the 2012 sex trafficking case in Rochdale, following years working tirelessly to get police authorities to listen to the stories of the abused girls. Speaking of her concerns for the victims getting ignored, she said: ‘I just became a big fire ball, I was really angry.’

Interestingly, the story was portrayed in BBC’s drama Three Girls earlier in May, with Maxine Peake playing Sara – but at the time of filming her First Date, she only let on that ‘someone famous’ would be playing her in the TV adaptation.

‘I feel as though I’m just coming out of a very difficult, dark time,’ she explained on the show, revealing that she has been single for eight years.

‘I’m ready to start to live my life again where I haven’t been for such a long time.

‘And be able to just have nice times and not be so stressed or worried or anxious or angry. To be carefree.’

Paired with Dutch dog trainer Nicki, Sara didn’t quite find romance, as they decided to remain friends – but this didn’t stop viewers from chiming in about how deserving she is of happiness after her heroic work:

And we completely agree – while it may not have been on Tuesday’s episode, we’re sure love will find its way to Sara in no time.