"I didn't really have the foggiest idea what I was doing," she says now."I just got on with it and decided I would deal with problems as they arose." Such was her determination that her first matchmaking attempts took place in the maternity wing of her hospital, where she had just given birth to her daughter.
She matched her very first client, a shy widow in her early 40s who was looking for a new partner to help with the upbringing of her young children.
"I found her someone and she married shortly afterwards," she recalls.
Like the one from the widow with three children who came to see her despairing that she would find love again.
"She had watched her husband being swept out to sea and drowned, and had been devastated by it," Stella recalls. "I put her together with a local widower who had five children of his own and feared no woman would want to take him on.
Marriage bureaux were still in their infancy and, bound by the sexually conservative mores of the time, Stella found it difficult to gain publicity: in the early Sixties, few newspapers were willing to publish her ads, fearful they were linked with the sex industry.
In order to surmount this opposition, Stella had to get personal references from her local MP and the Bishop of Lincoln.Unable to have children of her own, she believed herself to be no catch at all. "She had such low self-esteem." Stella matched her to a local man who was seen as something of a confirmed bachelor when he joined the bureau. The couple were so enamoured of her matchmaking abilities that just a few years ago, they sent their nephew to see her."I introduced him to someone and now they're very happily married, too." Most people, she says, have a firm idea of what they want, and Stella endeavours to deliver.Those Stella has helped over the years include television personalities - although Stella is resolutely declines to name them - and members of the aristocracy.It is the ordinary folk, however, of whom she is most proud, and whose thank-you letters she treasures."Old men always want a young dolly bird, and the plainest girls still like to think they can get themselves a millionaire," says Stella waspishly.