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.

 

Deolu (Environmental Engineering and Project Management 2010)

"My heart still skips a beat every single day..."

"Met my amazing lady at Leeds in 2009. She walked into the class a few minutes late on our very first lecture in the Civil Engineering department and my heart literally stopped beating. Its been 12 years now, 2 beautiful kids and she's as amazing as that very day. My heart still skips a beat every single day."

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Ellen (Cinema, Photography & Television 2010)

"Friendship blossomed into romance and we never looked back..."

"I joined the caving society in freshers week of my first year and he had intended to sign up too but bailed on the freshers fair due to a hangover... two years in a row!

"Despite both being at Bodington Hall we didn’t meet until third year when he finally decided to turn up to a caving information evening and I was on the committee.

"After many nights out and a few Otley Runs, friendship blossomed into romance and we never looked back!

"To celebrate our 10th anniversary in late 2019 we travelled back up to Yorkshire and dragged all of our loved ones with us to get married. We even had a pub quiz and our tables were named after pubs on the Otley Run to commemorate how important Leeds was (and still is) to us both. "

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Sophie (MA Conference Interpreting 2010)

"Leeds will always hold a special place in our hearts..."

"Leeds was the reason me and my husband met! I was studying in Leeds and he was working and we actually met through common friends on Valentine's Day! It was at the restaurant Oranaise in Hyde park where we often go back to celebrate.

"11 years later we're now married and expecting our first baby! Leeds will always hold a special place in our hearts!"

Rebecca Keatinge (Performance Design, MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies 2011)

"Our love blossomed at Leeds..."

"My husband was the President of the Ultimate Frisbee Team and I was the Secretary. At the end of third year we finally became an item. In 2020 we celebrated our 10th anniversary and welcomed our son, Wren. We cannot wait to show him the campus where our love blossomed."

Wai Yi (Law 2011)

"We never actually met at Leeds.."

"My husband and I were both final year transfer students from Malaysia. People always assume we met and fell in love at university, but we actually never met at Leeds because he came the year after I graduated. We had, however, made mutual friends in Christian Fellowship and one of these included a vivacious medical student whose study term spanned both of ours. She tried to tell us we would suit each other, but was dismissed as a busybody.

"Nevertheless with some persistence on her part, we met in Malaysia and 8 years on, she now has the bragging rights to the title of match-maker."

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Andrea Matthews (English Language and Literature 2011)

Andrea and Jonny - A timetabling clash which led to love...

"During the second semester of my first year, I took an elective in British Politics on a bit of a whim because I couldn’t take Modern Greek due to a timetabling clash. I remember turning up for my first politics seminar and took my seat. Opposite was this guy, who I thought was really good looking. He seemed studious and quiet. I thought about trying to talk to him after the seminar but ended up chickening out.

"As the semester continued, the members of my seminar became creatures of habit and continued to sit in the same seats as we had during that first seminar. I continued to sneak looks at him from across the room and he became known to my friends as “Hot Seminar Guy with the Awful White Hat” (it was a truly terrible hat but it didn’t put me off).

"Towards the end of the semester I had all but given up hope of talking to him. On a particularly wet and miserable day, I arrived to the seminar and he wasn’t there. About 5 minutes later, the door opened and he came in late. His usual seat had been occupied in an unusual disregard for the self-imposed seating plan, and so there was only one available seat. Next to me.

"During the seminar we were encouraged to talk, about Margaret Thatcher, and I learnt that like most Northerners he thought she was the Devil. I also learnt that his name was Jonny, that he was from Stockport, and that he was living in Headingley.

"After that seminar, I seemed to bump into him all over the place. We eventually went for a coffee at Opposite and had a chat. It was at this point that I was horrified to find out that he had a girlfriend back home. I tried to hide my disappointment and resolved that at least I could be his friend.

"We continued to go for friendly coffees at Opposite, and he started letting on that he wasn’t happy with his girlfriend and that he liked someone else. I was almost certain that he meant me but I didn’t dare let myself hope! My advice was that he should speak to his girlfriend and be honest.

"This situation carried on for some time. We now had expanded our meet-ups to sitting together in the Edward Boyle library. Eventually, after much heavy hinting, Jonny told me that it was me that he liked. He hadn’t broken up with his girlfriend yet (he wanted to do it in person and hadn’t been home) and so I said that, although I liked him too, I couldn’t see him until he was single.

"Our end of year exams arrived a few weeks later and our situation had developed no further. I had plans to go out after my last exam, which was the British Politics one. I bumped into Jonny after the exam and mentioned my plans to go to The Faversham that night. He suggested that he come too but I didn’t think that a good idea in the circumstances.

"That night I went out and had a great time. I had had way too many Jäger Bombs when I turned round to see Jonny standing there with some of his friends. Being the sensible, mature person that I was, I ran to the to toilets and hid. Whilst there, I explained my predicament to a very friendly random girl who I had lent my mascara to (hygienic). She thought I should just go for it because it wasn’t my responsibility to be the moral one in this situation. I eventually built up the courage to leave the sanctuary of the toilet and headed back to the bar.

"When I got there, well, I would like to say that I behaved responsibly. Unfortunately that is not true. I ended up buying Jonny a load of drinks as he seemed too sober to me, and we got together (sorry, Jonny’s ex!) I still feel guilty about that, even now.

"I won’t go into too much detail of what followed that night as it wasn’t pretty. Jonny came back to my James Baillie flat but proceeded to throw up everywhere and then pass out on my single bed so I had to clean up his vomit in my marigolds at 3am and then try to sleep on the “sofa” (a staff room-esque blue monstrosity that was about as comfortable as a conversation with a flat earther). What now know well is that Jonny is an incredibly lucid drunk and so what I took to be being sober was in fact an already drunk person who I had then plied with Jäger Bombs, so the vomiting is probably my fault. The following morning was not romantic either as Jonny had to run off as it turned out he had been burgled over night.

"Despite the rocky start, we have been together ever since with only a few minor hiccups along the way. We have now been a couple for over 11 years and have been married for three of those. Safe to say we avoided Jäger Bombs on our wedding night."

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Emma Smith (Zoology 2013)

Emma and Harry - Love at first sight

"I met Harry in my second year of studying at Leeds. I'd gone round to a course mate's house to watch Doctor Who, and met him there - it was love at first sight. A few weeks later we were a couple, and the rest is history.

"I remember walking up Royal Park Road to uni together, spending many joint study evenings in the bottom floor of Edward Boyle library, and meeting up frequently on campus to have lunch dates at The Terrace.

"We moved in together when we graduated in 2013 to a central Leeds apartment.

"Now almost 8 years later, we're still in Leeds, in our own house in Chapel Allerton. We've been happily married for a year and a half, and have a beautiful 6 month old baby girl named Freya."

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Melissa Hall (English Language and Literature 2014)

Melissa and Jack - "Our first date was on a snowy day in Hyde Park..."

"We first met outside a lecture theatre in the Roger Stevens building, waiting for our Crime & Criminal Justice elective in the first week of teaching! Jack studied Arabic & Middle Eastern studies and had just returned from his year abroad in Cairo. We became fast friends and sat together all term, until our first date on a snow day in Hyde Park when the lecture was cancelled. Together for 10 years as of this February!"

Alex Bisby (Nursing, MSc Advanced Practice 2014)

Alex and Teddy- "We met on a night out where I told them off for smoking... 9 years later we are happily married."

"We met in September 2011 through the Leeds uni LGBT society, we went on a night out through the society I told Teddy off for smoking and demanding they find me a seat because my feet were sore, we very soon became a couple. The rest is history...9 years later we are married with our gorgeous dog Luna."

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Ujjval (MSc. International Business 2015) & Anushka (BSc. Biotech & MBiol 2014)

Ujjval and Anushka - "We met at an Indian society event, five years later, happily married!"

"I met my now wife at a freshers event in Leeds! It was October of 2015, my masters at university had begun a month ago. She was on the committee in Indian society, and I had just joined. We started talking, and kept meeting every weekend. From Eldon to Bierkeller to Fruity to O2 - we’d meet everywhere! After countless meetings, we finally got together after a month and were inseparable since. Most of our dates were spent in Eddy B or Laidlaw, but it was time we’ll forever cherish. Leeds has played such an important role in our lives, it will forever hold a huge space in our hearts."

Sarah Shaw (Writing 2015)

Sarah and Sven - "Thanks to Leeds for changing the course of my life forever!"

"I met my husband to be at Bundobust in Leeds on January 5th 2015. We had chatted on tinder over the xmas period and decided to meet. I had been a bit cagey about giving him my number, but he had more trust and gave me his!

"On this day there were gale force winds, and Sven was coming from Saltaire by train. The trains were delayed by an hour, and he didnt have my number to let me know! After 10 minutes I sent him a message, abruptly asking "are you coming?' I got a very panicked message back explaining about the train.

"I decided to wait, and wrote down some writing ideas (which became my final dissertation). When Sven arrived I found it funny he had an umbrella with him in gale force winds! He could only stay an hour and had to get the last train back, but he made quite an impression in that hour, as five years on we are married!

"We couldn't have our proper wedding due to restrictions, but the important thing is we are together. Thanks to Leeds for changing the course of my life forever. It's where I fell in love and met the people who would help me set up my dream, a not for profit theatre company. Leeds will always have a special place in my heart, as will Sven!"

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Sonia Holland (Food Science 2015)

"It can all be traced back to the Leeds University Skydiving club!"

"My (now) boyfriend and I became friends as we were both members of the skydiving club. We both continued skydiving after university and spent time together through that.

"He took a sabbatical from work to travel for a year and ended up spending Christmas with my family in New Zealand as the trips coincided...now we live together in London, but it can all be traced back to Leeds university skydiving club!"

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Jack (Biology 2015)

"I am now the happiest I've ever been..."

"My boyfriend and I were a couple of years apart - me studying biology and him studying microbiology. We regularly attended the same FOBSOC socials, Fruity Fridays and many other university events; we even studied in the same areas of the library.

"We didn’t actually meet until a few years after university and since then we have retraced our steps to find that we probably bumped into each other many times.

"I am now the happiest I have ever been and would have loved to be able to dial back for just one day to see the ‘younger us’ bumping into each other, not realising what was to come.

"He’s now working very close to the University Campus. We often grab a coffee at Café on the Campus or reminisce about our Uni days."

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Chrysiida Kitsara (Colour Science 2016)

"We grew up in the same city in Greece but met in Leeds!"

"It was end of May when I met my husband. Although we grew up in the same city in Greece the universe decided we would meet on Leeds campus. 11 years later we are happily married and we have a beautiful daughter!"

Morwenna Parkin (Architectural Engineering 2016)

"My parents found love at Leeds...then I did too!"

"Well to start off with my mum and dad met at Leeds University.....so there's that! When I finally started university, in my first year I lived at Lupton. I was lucky enough to make some life long friends in the halls, some of which were studying medicine or were in OTC - the army.

"In my first year I went to an OTC ball and met my other half.... who was a medic at OTC. He was wearing a fez because he's cool.... safe to say.... we didn't really click (despite the fez)!!

"In my third year I came back from a year abroad and we crossed paths again. This time we actually got on... He still jokes that it was because of the fez and nearly 6 years later we're still together! Oh and he still owns a fez!"

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Victoria Williams (Art and Design 2016)

A fateful night at Fruity...

"We had a brief first encounter on a night out at Fruity when we were introduced through mutual friends. It wasn’t until a week later when we happened to both be invited to the same house party (not knowing each other would be there) that we got talking properly and that was that! 5 and a half years on and we’re happily still living in Leeds."

Freya Parr (English 2016)

"We've adventured together across the globe!"

"When I turned up for the first day of Fame rehearsals at Devonshire Hall, I was hungover, late and resentful of the fact that I'd been dragged by Graeme to join in the musical theatre scene I'd been so fervently avoiding since I left school.

"Halfway through the vocal warm-up, I looked around me and immediately saw a boy in a ripped black punk band tshirt, denim shorts and with a tattoo on his shoulder of a fish smoking a cigar. He wasn't the usual musical theatre type. When I tuned into his voice a little more, I realised he had the most incredible rich, baritone voice – and immediately set my sights on him.

"A term of rehearsals ensued and he showed little interest, but by the end of that first year the Fame cast had become my best friends and we moved into second year as a unit – all together. After having totally given up on the idea, one day I started to notice he was looking at me in a different way.

"Soon enough, we were bound together in a messy, knotty way that only uni relationships can be. We'd roll into Popinas together after a night out and share a Rubicon. We'd go on dates to the Hyde Park Picture House, which developed a love of cinema in us both, something we've taken with us since our days at Leeds.

"As the end of second year swung around, things shifted gear. I was off to Australia for a year abroad. When I returned, having promised myself that I wouldn't get embroiled in anything serious in my fourth year, inevitably we ended up together again. He'd stayed on for an extra year in Leeds hoping I'd still be interested. Fortunately for him, I was. And still am.

"We've adventured together across the globe. We lasted through nearly a year living on opposite sides of the world, as I decided to return to Australia. We've survived lockdown in two separate cities, only seeing one another a handful of times over the last year. It seems funny that, having been together nearly ten years, the only time we've ever lived in the same city was during our time at Leeds. We hope to return soon and restart the adventure again."

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Clair Tighe (Cinema and Photography 2017)

"We clicked at the Bradford Media museum..."

"I met my husband after studying a year abroad and we were both in our third year. It was on a class trip to the Bradford media museum that we first really clicked. From that moment on till now we’ve been inseparable!"

Ana (MA Corporate Communications, Marketing and PR 2017)

Ana and James - "Thanks Leeds University for bringing us together!"

"I met my partner James at Leeds University, we were both studying different masters there. His flatmate and I were on the same course and we all started hanging out together.

"I remember we officially starting dating the day of the USA elections, Trump won but I guess something good came out from that night!

"We have now been together for four years! And this past year has been very difficult for us due to the pandemic, but we have gone through it together and here we are still going stronger.

"So thanks Leeds University for bringing us together!"

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Bethanie (MSc Security and Justice 2018)

An encounter at a Christmas meal which led to love...

"I met my now husband during my masters studies at the university. He was a part of an optional module I had taken, and we got to talking after I was invited to join the group for their Christmas meal.

"I asked the lecturer if she knew if there would be vegan options and that was when I was introduced to my husband as he is also vegan! We talked through the whole meal, and later in the academic year when I needed a new place to live he let me know there were spare rooms in his accommodation.

"I moved into his shared student flat in January 2018, we became good friends and in March we travelled to Berlin together which was where we realised we liked each other as more than friends.

"When we got back to Leeds we explored the city together and in April 2019 we got married at Leeds Town Hall."

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Brandon Lim (Law 2018)

Christine and Brandon - "Leeds brought us together..."

"My girlfriend Christine and I met while both of us were studying law at Leeds. It has been quite the international relationship, with her being from Malaysia and myself hailing from Singapore, and of all places that we could meet, Leeds brought us together, more specifically the 6th row of the lecture theatre in the Rogers Steven building.

"It has been quite the ride literally, with us travelling to so many places around the world, from the serene Ha Long bay in Vietnam, to the snow capped skyscrapers of New York City.

"Leeds has always remained a very special place in both our hearts, where we made the best friendships, had the best support system amidst the best University experience one could ask for. We are about to celebrate our fourth year together this Valentine’s Day and fervently wish everyone back at Leeds the best of health and happiness and to stay safe!"

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Annabel Solnik (Sustainable Cities 2019)

"I moved into the house he was living in and apparently straight into his heart."

"I met my current boyfriend in Leeds when I went there for my master’s studies. I moved into the house he was living in and apparently straight into his heart. After many long chats in the kitchen about anything and everything, he confessed his feelings for me at a night out in Beaverworks. We had our first date in Belgrave eating the famous Dough Boys “Baa no more” pizza where he fell in love with the pizza as much as me."

Zoe Speirs (Medical Sciences 2019)

"On our first date we couldn't stop talking, now we live in Edinburgh together!"

"I stood outside Belgrave on a Monday waiting for him to arrive for our first date, which ended up being 7hrs of endless chatter. The next day, I left my lab and saw him sat outside Parkinson’s building and we went for a coffee at Opposite.

"We lost touch until after the Easter holidays, where we spent almost every day together, including meeting me for coffee after a tough presentation! He became my best friend.

"It came my time for leaving Leeds, but I came back for Leeds Ball, where we spent the weekend together and even had a trip to York. He travelled to Singapore and on his return into London, I met him in Farringdon where I worked at the time. Now.... we live in Edinburgh together!"

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Jessica Robinson (Physics 2019)

Jessica and Oli - "We fell in love with Leeds and even more with each other..."

"In my last year at 6th form I was anxiously awaiting my A level results. My childhood sweetheart Oli had applied for Pwc Newcastle and I had applied to Durham uni. We had been together since we were 15 and 16 and were sad about living so far away from each other.

"Oli then found out that he didn’t get the job in Newcastle but they offered him one in Leeds instead. I found out that I hadn’t got in to my first choice Durham and would be going to Leeds uni.

"I believe it was fate and it was meant to be! We packed our bags at 18 and haven’t left since. We fell in love with Leeds and even more with each other."

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Lucy (Textile Design 2019)

"Thank you Leeds for bringing me to my soulmate!"

"It was 2016, when life was normal. A usual Saturday, sweaty night spent cutting shapes in Tikki Bar on Call Lane. To round off the night we headed to McDonalds, where I saw him standing there under those iconic Golden Arches.

"‘Givus some of your water please,’ he said, and downed the whole bottle right in front of me. The epitome of masculinity.

"We got talking and discovered we were both from the same tiny village in Shropshire and both moved to Leeds to study. I had been a waitress at the cafe next to his family’s farm growing up. The rest is history.

"Almost 5 years later, we now live together, have a cockapoo fur baby and are now hopeful our wedding can go ahead in summer! Thank you Leeds for bringing me to my soulmate! ❤️"

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Lucy Bennett (Chemical Engineering 2019)

"It was the classic Leeds love story..."

"It was the classic Leeds love story, he was a boy from Beckett doing Sports Business. All it took was a few swipes on tinder and the rest is history. We met on Valentine’s Day so it’s also our anniversary. 2 years later and we are moving in and very happy. Thanks LEEDS!"

Natalia Andino (MSc Business Psychology 2019)

Natalia and Herrald - "Even though we are 4500 miles apart, we don't remember the distance when we are together..."

"We officially met at a mutual friends birthday party. But before that, we crossed paths many times without realizing, from walking the same “Get Out, Get Active” hikes to Malham Cove to even having the same class at the Roger Stevens Building.

"Since our official meeting, we spent loads of time working on our dissertations at the Laidlaw Library and having lunches at Asian restaurants near by (our main go-to was My Thai).

"When I was conducting interviews for my dissertation, he would walk and meet me at cafes in the city center afterwards and we’d catch up about our day. One thing lead to another and during the Leeds Ball is when our romance sprung! 😁 We went with a group of friends, but we spent the whole evening exploring the different activities the ball had to offer. It wasn’t long after that we fell in love with one another.

"We continued visiting Laidlaw to do work, order our tea and cappuccino’s together daily, jam out to 80s music (mainly Queen) and go on countless dates to movies and dinners in the City Center. The Otley run was when we announced to our friends that we were together (what happens at Dry Dock, stays at Dry Dock!).

"We always had the best time together and felt strongly for one another, so when the school year came to an end we pursued our relationship long distance (he is from the Netherlands and I am from the US). Since then, we visited each other in New York and my hometown in Orlando, and I to the Netherlands for Christmas and New Years where I met his family and friends. Right before the pandemic he planned a surprise visit with my mom for months to see me for my birthday, and during the pandemic, the Netherlands created a “sweetheart exemption” in which I was able to go and see him for 7 weeks in the Netherlands. We then went to Aruba to quarantine so he was able to come to the US and spend this holiday season with my family and our mutual friend (the one who's birthday party is where Herrald and I met!).

"We’re going on almost 2 years strong since we met at Leeds, and it’s been such bliss together ❤️ Even though we are 4,500 miles apart, we don’t remember the distance when we’re together, but it’s still hard to say goodbye when the time comes. I definitely wouldn’t have met Herrald had it not been for the University of Leeds, and I am so grateful for our journey with the university. I wouldn’t have had it any other way ❤️"

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Sam Brady (History and Philosophy 2019)

"We met at a Jewish society event... 5 years later and we are living together in Glasgow!"

"We met at a Jewish society event. It was January 2016 and we were four months into our first year at uni - I was on the society committee and she’d only recently joined. We started chatting and I offered to ‘keep her updated about the society’s events’, as any good committee member would do. Today, we’re nearing our five-year anniversary as a couple and are living together in Glasgow!"

Vivian (International Education Leadership and Policy 2019)

Love that goes the distance...

"The first time we spoke to each other properly was when I saw him wearing a Seattle Seahawks t-shirt during karaoke night at Bierkeller. I approached him and said ‘You’re a Seahawks fan and I am from Seattle, we can be friends’.

"We would then ‘randomly’ bump into each other at the Eddy B. Library and would only speak during our chance encounters in the library. A few weeks went by before he stopped bringing his course mates along to our lunch break and attempted to flirt with me for the first time at the Library Pub while we watched the 2019 Super Bowl.

"I moved back to the US after my course ended in October 2019 and we continued our relationship long distance. Things have been difficult and the pandemic made it more challenging than we could have ever imagined. However, distance really does make the heart grow fonder! We are still very much in love and are working to finally close the distance between us."

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Olivia Acus (Graphic Design and Communication 2019)

"We owe it all to Leeds..."

"I met my boyfriend in freshers (we lived in Charles Morris together), he studied abroad for a year and all these years later we are still together! We owe it all to Leeds."

Aishwarya Mittal (MA Human Resource Management 2020)

Aishwarya and Sarthi - "Thank you University of Leeds, for playing such a big role in our lives."

"Well, Me and Sarthi met at the pre departure session held by the University rep in our country before moving to Leeds. I didnt know it then, that he is the one with whom I would like to spend a lifetime with.

"We went to Leeds but didn’t talk to each other at first. Then one day I realised that he was staying in the adjacent accommodation to my own - by luck I realised I could see him through my room’s window. We both were studying our masters at the university of Leeds but different courses.

"As we used to live nearby, we started walking down to the university together, eventually started cooking lunch and dinner together. It was a beautiful time indeed.

"One night it was announced that there was a concert of his favourite band Kodaline in Leeds. He bought tickets for me too and planned to ask me out that night. We eventually fell in love with each other. Leeds will always hold a precious place in our hearts !! Thankyou University of Leeds for playing such a big role in our lives."

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