Love at Leeds

From blossoming romance during lectures to dances at the Saturday night hop, read the heart-warming stories of love found at Leeds.

Love through the years

Use the year you graduated to find your Leeds love story.

Maybe it was a chance encounter on the Otley run, a meeting over coffee in the Union, a kiss on the dance floor at Fruity – Leeds has seen it all. Read the 100s of heart-warming stories over these pages, and enjoy the unique artwork of 20 Leeds alumni couples produced by local portrait artist Molly Pukes.

Or perhaps it was Leeds that stole your heart? Explore how our alumni fell in love with the city through Love for Leeds, and enjoy their love letters to the city.


Still in love with Leeds - Chris (2012) and Fiona Pelly (2012)

Chris and Fiona’s love of singing brought them together in 2011 and they’ve been together ever since...

"I met Chris my husband of 5 years through LUU OperaSoc. He was conducting, I was prancing about on stage in a beard. Our love of singing brought us together. We had an aerial photo of the campus as our table plan at the wedding with different buildings that meant something to us as the name of each table. Parkinson was of course the top table. We still have it hanging up at home as a reminder.

"We both now work at the Uni. Chris is in Music where he also did his BA and PG Dip and I'm Faculty of AHC, so technically haven't gone far either, having studied Japanese.

"We now have a baby boy called Rupert who was born in early October. He was very much a lockdown baby and spent his bump months attending Uni meetings on Teams with me. Chris has been busy learning video editing skills and keeping the Uni Concert Series going from our attic room. We're both missing campus but at least we can wave at the Parky tower from our top floor.”


A flame in the wilderness - Owen (Geological Sciences 2016) and Molly (Geological Sciences 2016)

Romance blossoms on a field trip to the Isle of Skye...

"Molly and I both studied Geological Sciences at Leeds. My four year course started in 2012 whereas Molly started her three year course in 2013. It wasn't until I returned fresh from my year in Canada that we met (3 days after touchdown on British soil) as she was catching a lift with me up to the Isle of Skye Scotland.

"We were heading up to Scotland with a collection of other geological sciences undergraduates to undertake our compulsory geological mapping project. It's a key part of the course and involves six weeks of independent geological mapping of an area up to 15km2. The digs were basic and the weather was questionable.

"Yet, being stuck in the wilderness with only occasional time off from working seemed to spark a flame. Around four weeks into the trip, and during one of the usual days of hill walking and rock scratching, our paths crossed. As we got talking over an outcrop of Durness limestone, we clicked. The final year at Leeds was the best of them all as I had gained a sidekick. Together we worked hard and we managed to graduate with 2:1 in the summer of 2016.

"Since then we've grown as a pair. We returned to the Isle of Skye in Dec 2018 where we became engaged- due to current restrictions, we now hope to get married in 2022. We also have a little boy (born in March 2020- a lockdown baby) called Louis who is keeping us on our toes!"


From Leeds to Vietnam - Ha (2018) and Nondas (2018)

A relationship which began at Leeds and blossomed across the world...

"We met at Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall for a Ted Talk event and soon became friends. I was studying MSc Enterprise and he was studying for an MSc in Human Resource. I remember one Sunday evening when he went searching for a coffee shop that was open when I was struggling with my dissertation, and he surprised me with a coffee to keep me going. We started having feelings for each other, and he told me how he felt on an October night near Laidlaw library.

"I had to come back home to Vietnam while he stayed in Leeds even though he comes from Greece. But, after a year of long distance, he proposed to me on a cruise in Halong Bay and I said yes. 2020 was a hard year and the pandemic presented a lot of obstacles, but we found our way to each other in Leeds where our story began and are looking forward to our wedding this summer. Leeds is not only full of so many sweet memories for us, it's our home sweet home.”


Excuse me, do you have a light? - Dave (PhD Geophysics 1972) and Ann-Marie Marsden (French and German 1969)

From a question in The Bricklayers Arms, to a lifetime of happiness...

"What gorgeous long wavy hair, how lovely. 'Excuse me, do you have a light?' I ask waving an unlit cigarette.

"It was a week or so before Christmas and I’d met up with an old acquaintance from halls, having returned to Leeds two years after graduating. We went to The Bricklayers Arms midweek for a catch-up chat and found it almost empty. The streets of two-up two-down terrace houses that had once surrounded the establishment had been demolished depriving it of its local trade. It was a small pub with just one bar, benches round the sides of the room and a handful of small tables occupying the centre of the room.

"The couple to whom I addressed my question were sitting at one of these tables. It transpired that my friend knew one of the people at the other table so we soon started up a conversation. One of them was Ann-Marie.

"After that initial encounter we got in touch in the January for a much longer getting-to-know-you chat at which point it transpired that we had much common ground. We started seeing each other with increased frequency. By early June we went to Paris for a few days, got engaged soon afterwards and married in the August. Naturally our friends were expecting news of the imminent pitter patter of tiny feet but they were to be disappointed, they had to wait eight years for that news. It really had been a question of love at first sight.

"That gorgeous long wavy hair was cut before the trip to Paris where a paper was presented at an international geophysics conference, we jointly typed the thesis for submission in the July. We moved into our first home after the honeymoon and had both taken up our new posts by early October.

"We’ve had our covid-19 vaccinations, will celebrate our golden wedding anniversary in 18 months and are tolerating the current lockdown by going for walks twice a day until such time as we can meet up again with our four children, their partners and our grandchildren. Anne-Marie has been confined to a wheelchair for the last 13 years and I still feel like Prince Charming when I put her shoes on."


Love at first sight - Louisa Pielichaty (Childhood Studies 2014)

Like many good Leeds stories, it started on the Otley Run...

"At the start of my second year at Leeds, my best friend on my course moved in to a house of nine Leeds Met lads. Hannah was the only girl and they adopted her instantly. A few days into the term, a mutual friend of ours was celebrating her birthday with an Otley Run pub crawl. The theme was 'dress up as grannies'.

"Hannah asked if I would get ready and then head round to hers to have a few drinks with her and the boys (who I was yet to meet). I donned by most vintage nana jumper; talcum powdered my hair; pulled on some slippers and found a pair of gold moon-shaped glasses.

"As I approached Hannah's front door, I remember being mortified to see it open just before I knocked. On the doorstep, there stood this beautiful, tall, Geordie lad in a baby-grow onesie, grinning out from under a cap. It couldn't have been more of a juxtaposition, me dressed as a geriatric and him dressed as a baby. Unbeknown to me, he was also heading out for a night out in fancy dress.

"Oddly enough, it was pretty much love at first sight. 8 years and five different continents later, we're as in love as we ever were all those years ago in Headingley. Leeds will always be where our love story began."


From New Delhi to Leeds - Preeti Ahluwalia (LLM International Business Law 2018)

A flight of destiny...

"There could be nothing better than spending your lifetime with a person who is your best friend, who knows you completely, who cares for you the most. Who shares each and everything with you, who supports you irrespective of the circumstances. Who will always stay when no one is there for you, who makes you feel better about yourself. Who will never try to change you and accept you the way you are!

"I met my husband at New Delhi (India) Airport just before flying to Leeds to pursue my master’s degree back in September 2017. Destiny plays an important part in our lives. Our seats were quite far away from each other, but somehow the seats got reshuffled and the next moment he was sitting next to me. That initial few hours of chat was the beginning of our beautiful journey.

"I did LLM in International Business Law and he did MSc Business Analytics, our schools were different and we both were staying at different Uni accommodations, but that didn’t stop us from meeting each other every single day. From long walks in Hyde Park to studying together in Laidlaw library to having pints of beer in old bar - We have done it all. We fought, we cried, we made fun of each other, we studied and roam together - all these resulted in making our bond stronger than ever. We both are quite different from each other, but they say, “opposites attract”, and now I believe it’s true.

"As we completed masters, our careers led us apart for a while. He stayed in Leeds and I went back to India. Even after staying almost 4038 miles apart, our bond grew stronger. We were always together by heart, shared every small and big thing with each other while managing the five hours’ time difference. Late night video calls and telling each and every single thing to each other was a part of our routine.

"After almost 1.5 years of long-distance friendship, he came to India and proposed to me for marriage. We both got married in November 2020 and now I am back to Leeds and we are together again. Visiting university campus and cherishing old memories is always fun.

"Leeds holds a very special place in both of our hearts. I found my heart in Leeds. My best friend, my one true love…"


The time was right - Rob (1999) and Gwen Atkinson (1998)

There were multiple opportunities for Gwen and Rob’s paths to cross at Leeds, but it didn’t happen until the time was right...

"It is 1997, the final months of John Major’s government. The Spice Girls are about to change the world of pop and Gwyneth Paltrow only appeared in a film with an English accent. Her major release that summer was Sliding Door – a film with two parallel plot lines based on whether or not catching a tube train can change your life. In the end she meets the love of her life when the time is right.

“After a falling out with my university housemates I decided I needed to leave. The wonderful staff in the Student Accommodation office agreed to help me find a place in Oxley flats. There happened to be a cute guy in the flat below me and a month later we had our first kiss.

“We realised we had mutual friends and should have met multiple times beforehand. But things kept on getting in the way. But we met each other when the time was right. We are still together, are celebrating our 19th Wedding Anniversary and have a five-year-old son."