Love through the years
A dance at a Union gig, a chance encounter on Red Route, a seminar buddy who became something more – Leeds has seen it all.
Read the heart-warming stories of Love at Leeds.
Or perhaps it was Leeds that stole your heart. Explore how our alumni fell in love with the city in Love for Leeds, and enjoy their love letters to the city.
Give to Leeds
If Leeds still holds a place in your heart, explore how you can give back to help our students and future graduates to succeed.
David Miles (Metallurgy 1963; PhD 1967)
While studying Metallurgy I was able to go on a technical experience exchange scheme to a Steelworks in North Spain. This whetted my appetite for Spain and Spanish so I decided to join the Spanish Society. I then met the secretary who signed me up. We then chatted when I saw her in the Refectory queue. The first Spanish Society social event was a coach trip to Ilkley Moor rocks and then hotel. I happened to sit next to the secretary, Patricia Dufton, on the coach. From that time it must have been love as we married in 1965 and later moved to London. Pat and I now live in Sheffield after an eventful life. Unfortunately, following a major stroke, Pat is now a resident in a Care Home where I visit her every day!
Anne Spiers (nee Sherwen) (General Arts 1964)
I graduated with no love story to tell you. However, several years later, back singing with the University Chorus by chance I met an old school friend, Martin, who was on his second degree studying medicine. We palled up again, but I had already signed a contract to work for two years in Bulgaria. During the summer between the two years he visited me in Bulgaria, and in Varna on the Black Sea coast he proposed! And I accepted.
Norman Ellis (Social Science 1966; PhD 1969)
I met my future wife on the Labour Society Committee in 1963. We have been married now for over 56 years and we jointly reside in both London and Stockholm.
Mike Warren (Medicine 1967)
In spring of 1966, I was counting drips to control the dose of labour inducing hormones in a lady on the antenatal ward at Hyde Terrace maternity hospital. A student midwife walked down the ward and smiled at me. I was completely smitten. A few days later at a medics' party in the attached Croft Hall residence I saw her again and plucked up the courage to ask her out.
We went out for a couple of months and my excitement at finding such an amazing, beautiful and elegant woman caused me to propose marriage, although I did not feel much of a match for someone so special and I was third in the queue! She sought a break to consider her options and went elsewhere to complete her training for six months.
I saw her only once. No change or decision – I was bereft and heartbroken with finals on the horizon. Then one day in early 1967 I was in the common room at LGI on student duty and my friend came in and said, "I've just seen Jean Cooper on ward 2". I immediately rushed up there and she had come back for me without a word.
We took up our relationship again with vigour and passion, married about six months later, after my first house job and soon after moved to South Cumbria, had four children (a condition of getting married) and an amazing life together for 55 years and counting – although now unfortunately blighted by Alzheimer's disease. I am still besotted and she remains as loving and lovely as ever, despite her difficulties.
Dr Jennifer Woolfe (MSc Food Science 1967; PhD 1970)
Mark and I have been married for over 50 years, but our love story started in the Department of Food and Leather Science at Leeds in 1966.
After our first degrees, mine at London University and Mark’s at Manchester, we had been encouraged to apply for the brand new MSc in Food Science starting at Leeds. On the first day, I walked into the department and saw a tall, dark, handsome man leaning against the entrance to the lecture theatre. I’m not sure if it was love at first sight for either of us. We became friends as we worked opposite each other in the chemistry lab and eyed each other up over the flasks and measuring cylinders!
One weekend, Mark invited me to go for a little outing in his old VW Beetle to have a look at York. We were strolling down a street when I slipped my hand into his arm and that was it! No longer just friends, but lovers who then spent every spare minute together when we weren’t studying for our MScs and then PhDs. We loved Leeds too, the cultural life and sometimes controversial student politics (sit-ins were the thing to be seen at) at the uni, the bustling city of friendly Yorkshire folk, and the proximity to magnificent moors and Dales which we took every advantage of.
Since then we have almost always worked in close proximity, our wonderful training at Leeds giving us the chance to spend years in first Africa and then South America. Eventually we both worked for the government, Mark as a food scientist and me as a nutritionist. Although theoretically retired Mark, he is still working and using his expertise in food authenticity. We have so much to thank Leeds for, especially bringing us together for a long and happy marriage.
Stephen Phillips (Philosophy and Politics 1967)
I met Liz at a party around Christmas 1967 and we danced to Ruby Tuesday by the Stones. I was completely transfixed but unfortunately I went to sleep because of all the drink and when I woke up the party had finished and she had gone.
After five days research I found she was in theatre group and went to the Bar-b-que cafe in Woodhouse Lane after rehearsals. So I went there and we are still very happy together today.
Barry Stoddard (Chemical Engineering 1967)
I was one of the founder members of Leeds University Ballroom Dancing Society and President in 1965/6. I met my future wife, Lorelie Ann Harris, during Freshers week in 1965, having encouraged her to join the society. The dancing group were all great friends and we enjoyed dancing together and ran a number of socials at Tetley Hall.
Those of us with some dance experience took dancing lessons with an IDTA teacher, Dennis Altman, who had a dancing school opposite the LGI and we also taught the basics to others without any dance experience in lunch breaks on the campus.
We started the very first Intervarsity Ball in 1965 with just 4 universities – namely Leeds, Nottingham, Liverpool and Leicester. I am amazed at just how this has now developed into a huge national competition held in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. Every March with most universities compete.
Following graduation, Lorelie and I became closer and we married in 1970, and dancing continued to be a huge interest in both our lives. One highlight was to be invited to 50th reunion of the society in the Union in 2014 with committee members from across the years. On our table we had two other couples who had also met at the society and then married – if you can get on on the dance floor you can get on in marriage and life!
In retirement Lorelie and I took professional dance teachers qualifications and taught others the basics in the Lake District, and supported the University Dancesport Society.
Sadly Lorelie died suddenly in 2018 and I then moved to Harrogate to be nearer to family. I continue to dance with variety of partners locally and further afield.
Leeds University was the start of a lifelong romance with each other and with ballroom dancing. The society was always dear to both of us and it is wonderful to see it flourishing. I am sure many more relationships will have cause to be thankful for the society bringing them together. May I wish all past and current members the joy of dance and indeed success on the competition floor.
Mike Goulding (Economics & Accountancy 1968)
I met my wife, Carole (nee Marshall), at the Freshers dance in October 1965. Carole was studying Maths & Stats. We graduated in 1968 and married in August that year. Carole had a successful career in teaching and I qualified as an accountant in 1972, and held many roles in my career. We are both now retired. We had two children, Daniel and Emma and now have five wonderful grandchildren.
Alison Ainsworth (Geography 1972)
It was March 1970 and my friend and I were looking at the notice board in the Geography department and discussing arrangements for the forthcoming geography field trip to Llandudno. I was wondering how I was going to get there from Gloucester where I would be staying with my aunt. A voice behind me overheard and said: “I can give you a lift as I will be driving to Llandudno from Gloucester.” We arranged to meet at Gloucester railway station on the relevant day. He loaded my suitcase on to the roof rack of his Mini and off we went.
The rest as they say is history. We collected two others on the way and their luggage was also loaded on to the roof and the heavily-laden Mini set off for Llandudno. Immediately following the geographical field trip was a geology one in Northern Ireland. He was introduced to my family who lived there as a “friend”.
Four weeks after collecting me from Gloucester station we were engaged. We married at the end of our second year in 1971. Two children, four grandchildren and a golden wedding later, we are still enjoying our field trips together. At the moment travelling around New Zealand, as always he is the only one who doesn’t mind me exclaiming over the geographical features we see.
Sue Leedham (Modern Languages 1972)
I was set up on a date by one of my friends. We met up in Bodington bar (now long gone, sadly). Barry and I hit it off straight away and never stopped talking – we have four kids and seven grandchildren now and it’s our 50th wedding anniversary this year. We both still love Leeds – and we still don’t stop talking!
Stephen Hardcastle (Medicine 1973)
I lived in Hey House and saw the students from the University performing some plays. There was one actress who greatly attracted me. Later, while visiting a fellow medic, I saw this young woman was her roommate. Later, in the med school, now the physiotherapy school, I asked my friend if this other young lady, named Sheila - a fine art student - would like to be taken out for a meal. A few days later, Judy, my fellow medic, said Sheila would be interested. That meal changed my life.
To cut a long story short, we married in 1972 and had six days short of 49 years of happy marriage with two wonderful daughters, one of whom later studied French and Spanish at Leeds. My lovely wife departed this life on 6th November 2021 and my life will never be the same again.
Keith (Applied Mineral Sciences 1973)
The Who. 14 Feb 1970.
Ian Collinson (French 1973)
I met my first wife at the University but I bear it no grudge.
Ann Christian (Medicine 1975)
I was going out with a fellow medical student but he failed his first year exams and resits so I had to go to the house he was going to be sharing in Welton Mount. Tony opened the door and the rest as they say is history! We still live in leeds and will have been married for 48 years this year.
Deborah Russell (Geology 1977)
Around the age of 14, at my school in Sussex, I came across a prospectus for the University of Leeds. I was mesmerised by the cover photo of students sitting on the Parkinson steps and desperately wanted to join them. From then on I never wanted to study anywhere else and by autumn 1973 I was a brand new first year Geology undergrad, who sat on the Parkinson steps as soon as I arrived!
On the Geology Society Freshers field trip to High Force I met a second year Earth Sciences student named Mike Russell, and fancied him like mad! We often bumped into each other in the department coffee bar on Red Route and he sometimes dropped by the flat I shared in Springfield Mount after a stint in the library, but we were just friends until he asked me to the Valentine Disco in the Refectory in February 1974 (at last!). The rest, as they say, is history.
49 years later, three sons (two of whom followed us to Leeds - William, Philosophy/Sociology 2009 and Alex, Philosophy 2012 - both were in Devonshire Hall, like their dad) and one grandson later, we have very happy memories of our time at Leeds and are still great friends with our Leeds 'gang'. If that 14-year-old girl had not picked up that Leeds prospectus, life would have been very different but I can't imagine it could have been any better. Thank you, Mike and thank you, Leeds.
Sean Huggins (English 1978)
This is an unusual one. I was at Leeds at the same time as Valerie (then Valerie Armson). We were doing the same English course so must have been at the same lectures at the same time. We later discovered that we had had mutual friends – and may even have gone to the same parties. But we never knowingly met.
Two decades later we were working on the news sub-editors' desk at the Daily Telegraph in London. At a boozy work lunch (Fleet Street was like that then) we had our first proper conversation and of course a lot of it was about Leeds. The evening (it was a long lunch) ended with a kiss, and we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last May. So although we didn't become a couple at Leeds, we like to think that conversation helped to bring us together and we have shared many fond memories since.
Gerard Liston (Earth Sciences 1979)
I met my wife in my first term/first year. She was a year ahead, studying Sociology and Social Policy. We got married the year I graduated ... and are still happily married. Our first grandchild arrived last year!
Olufemi Obafemi (English Literature 1981)
I dated and got engaged to the love of my life before arriving at Leeds in 1978 but we could not get married before I left Nigeria for studies in England. My fiancée, Dupelola could not come with me as she was still a nursing student in Nigeria. She later came to join me on completion of her studies and the love blossomed until we got married at a Leeds city registry in October 1980.
We lived a romantic and intimate love life in Leeds even as I was writing my doctoral thesis. She was a great supporter and inspiration to me, accompanying me to my study room at the Brotherton Library every day as I wrote the final draft of my doctoral thesis which I defended in April 1981. She also joined in the songs and orchestra of my play which I premiered at the Workshop Theatre, Leeds. We have since returned to Nigeria.
Chris Donegan (Biochemistry and Microbiology 1986)
I married as an undergraduate at Leeds, in the second year of my degree. It was a big step and one that did not garner universal approval from family. Nevertheless we did it.
After leaving Boddington Hall our flat in Blenheim Square became our first home and was a haven for most of our friends (who came for Sunday lunch and Christmas dinners). My wife got a job at a Leeds accountant (looking after the likes of Jack Charlton) and we set about building a life together.
Our shared memories of Leeds are of a financially challenging but emotionally fulfilling launchpad to life. Enjoying the countryside, Yorkshire hospitality and a vibrant social life around the University and city. Regularly winning the Leeds Cinema quiz in the evening newspaper (for free film tickets) and shopping in the market in Boar Lane. Forty years later we remain happily married and with three adult kids. It was a great way to start our life together – although I must say that the Emirates is a step-up on Elland Road.
Rob Unwin (Agricultural Zoology 1986)
After a first, just friendly, meeting when I was in my first year and she in her third year (studying English), Helen went away to France for a year and we only met again when I was in my third year and she was doing a PGCE.
She came over the Amnesty stall at the freshers fare where I was recruiting students as president of the society. I had a dodgy moustache, but fortunately that didn't put her off and we had a friendly exchange. Next she came to the Amnesty disco, but perhaps suffering from male pattern blindness, I never particularly noticed her interest. She had also been told I was dating 'an older woman' (which was actually no longer true) so was cautious. Finally she joined me on an anti-apartheid demo in London where we met listening to Oliver Tambo in Trafalgar Square and I surreptitiously warmed my hands in her long hair. We sat next to each other on the coach home and never stopped talking. She invited me back for a coffee afterwards and I nearly said no, as I had a friend's birthday party that evening. However, I finally realised something was happening and agreed. That was 38 years ago and now we are grandparents!
Chris Donnelly (Civil Engineering 1987)
We first met over a bar.
I had volunteered to serve at a Weetwood/Sadler Hall exchange dinner. She said I'd given her the wrong change. I hadn't, but how was I to know she was studying Maths, and that my mate was charging girls he liked less for drinks. We were both part of the same group and would often meet up at pubs and events.
On 5th November '85 we saw a firework event at Sadler. We danced and talked into the night and discovered we liked the same things and had very similar backgrounds. I thought she just liked my coffee.
My friends asked “if she wasn't engaged”, would I ask her out? It appears I should have been looking at her fingers, not her wild red hair and smile!
Events moved quickly. I asked Ros for a date later that month – a drove to Otley and then drinks at the Malt Shovel in Wharfedale. We both insisted it was nothing serious, but our friends could tell there was something real (I believe there was some sort of wager on the date we would be married).
During the week, we would meet up in the Maths or Civ Eng coffee bars, swapping notes on maths lecturers. Weekends, and to be honest a few week nights, were spent at either Sadler or Weetwood Halls....studying. I think I owe Ros all the credit for my degree, the amount of studying she made me do.
We bonded over laughter, shared jumpers, walks in the Hollies and Golden Acre Park, days/nights out with friends, fish fingers for breakfast and meat pie sandwiches at the weekends.
We graduated in '87 and took up jobs in Leeds, me in engineering and Ros in accountancy. We moved out of bedsits in Headingley and into a house in Morley. In 1990 we married and continued living and working in Leeds until we emigrated to Australia in 2006.
Nearly 40 years after we first met in Leeds, we're both still loving life, travel, and each other. We still go back to the UK and often stay at Weetwood Hotel. Ros' attic room is now a storage cupboard. Sadler is sadly long gone but many things are still the same.
Ros still checks her change and till receipts every time.
Helen Matthews (Geography 1989)
Who knew I would be mapping out my life with another geographer. From field trips in the Lake District to living there together for the last 25 years.
Al Lines (Computer Science 1991)
Thinking I was too busy studying, singing and working, I was happy with my circle of friends. A chance meeting on a Sunday morning, waiting in hall for others to go to church, Jenny appeared. Her normal friend to go to church with was not around that day.
I was aware of her from halls, along with many others, as running the hall bar, one tended to meet a lot of the other students. We got chatting, and as with many student things, invited her to drop in for coffee. To then find she did not drink it, only tea! This started a long relationship of my buying tea, but never drinking it; I am still a confirmed coffee drinker.
You can guess the rest - we have recently celebrated our silver wedding anniversary. And I am still making tea for her.
Jane Susanna Ennis (PhD German 1993)
I met my partner, Tobias Abse, in the Senior Common Room at Leeds University. I was a postgrad in German, he was a lecturer in History. We are now both retired, and have been together 32 years. We live in Livorno, Italy.
Gerald Mwangi Ole Walterfang (MA Communication Studies 1996)
My love story starts with "love for Leeds University". I selected Leeds because of its international reputation and the numerous African students of outstanding performance who passed through.
When I arrived, I recall being very hungry – but I only carried dollars. My attempt to purchase anything on the bus to Leeds was met with "sorry love we do not take dollars". My face sank, and I felt even hungrier...but a lovely chemistry third year student was so gracious and kind, she offered to buy me something to eat. After rejecting her offer with embarrassment, she insisted she was indeed doing it with much love and care. And that I was not obligated to refund her in spite of my insistence. I accepted... and have remained eternally indebted.
Fast forward, I enjoyed my classes, the people in my class and lecturers. My excursions to Morrisons, my work trips to York, working at the chicken factory with various nationalities, listening to the lovely song of Gabrielle "Rise".
Then there was the gym, the Afro Caribbean Club and the pub next to Parkinsons and walks around Edward Boyle. That’s where the love story of meeting this lovely chemistry and management student by the name of Joan Nyambura Mwaniki begins. It was my visits to Clarendon that led me to the most beautiful girl I had ever seen since my birth. She sparkled, she lit up many dark alleys and her voice convinced even birds tucked away in nests to come out and hear her refreshing sound whether it was raining, snowing or in summer. Her walk dazed everyone on campus and she received more invites out than the google algorithm can tabulate. Her sharp wit and dance moves to date remain top of the dancing league. Her hospitality led to my bestowing her the title "Goodwill Ambassador". Her cooking was mouth-watering. She had a gift of connecting people and the best choice she made was connecting with me.
I have often stated in talks I give in Nairobi and elsewhere when opportunity arises that “I got two degrees from Leeds University: MA-Communications Studies and the best one , my wife today, Phyllis Njoki Wambugu".
We are happily married with four children and a granddaughter. I love Leeds and the University.
I came to Leeds for two reasons: It gave me an education and above all it gave me a life partner, a friend, a confidant, my wife, Phyllis.
My late dad, Gerrit Andries Walterfang, and my late mum, Esther Muthoni Mwangi-Walterfang, adored her. Dad passed on in her arms and before we married in 1999, while mum and her were best of friends. They looked so alike and in fact she was seen more as mum's biological daughter than I was seen as her son. They adored each other and mum passed on with great joy spending time with her grandchildren.
It is my hope that one day one or two or all my children will have a Leeds experience. My son, who is an excellent football player and great in academics, has plans to eventually apply for a great scholarship in the field of psychology and play for Leeds. My daughter Nikita Muthoni is keen on architecture, art and design, and is also keen to reunite with this place that brought mum and dad together.
Leeds brought life unto me and gave me the best gift a man can ask. God must be a great designer to have seen all this in advance and making it happen.
Camilla Capel (English and Art History 1996)
My husband Simon moved in to my shared house in Headingley to fill the extra bedroom left by a friend who went overseas for their year out. Love blossomed over late night chats, lunches in the Refectory and coffees on Red Route. He got me through my finals as I finished a year before him and then I commuted up from London at weekends to see him the following year as he did his. We've been together for 27 years and married for 23. We've lived in Sydney Australia for 12 years and are now back with our family of three teenage children in the UK in Surrey.
Leeds for us was the start of our love story and one which has stood the test of time. Our eldest son is even considering Leeds as a choice for university which we would both love....it’s an excuse to return regularly.
Fay Grech-Marguerat (Adult Nursing 1997)
I was a student nurse in Leeds from 1994 to 1997, based at St James’s. In 1995 I met Matt whilst on holiday in Torquay. He came to Leeds when study allowed and actually worked the switchboard at the Hilton Leeds City the year Princess Diana died. Leeds provided so many ways for people to show their respects. It was very special.
In 1996, we went to Pizza Express for dinner, near the Corn Exchange, and Matt asked me to marry him! We were sitting right in the middle of the restaurant and just as he popped the question the pizzas arrived! This year we will be celebrating our silver wedding anniversary! We have very happy memories of our courting days in Leeds, especially dates at the Odeon and walks in Roundhay Park. One day we will return and take our children.
Polly (Biochemistry with Molecular Biology 1999)
First day of University, travelling on the bus from Bodington Hall to the campus I got chatting to a group of French erasmus students. Attraction quickly grew between one of the guys and myself. A few weeks later at the Bod Ball Michael asked me out, a first dance, a first kiss, and almost 30 years later we are now living with our four daughters in Quebec, Canada.
Emma Gray (Politics and Parliamentary Studies 2001)
I met my husband on a blind date while at Leeds Uni, he was studying Biomedical Sciences. Only it was his friend I was on a blind date with! We were engaged within a few months (at the Bodington Ball in 1998!) and this year we have been married 20 years with a 15 and 17 year old!
Lorraine Hughes (English 2001)
It was 2001. I was studying English and in my final year. Mike was studying History, also in his final year. We met at a party. He nearly hadn't gone but had changed his mind at the last moment. He also had a friend who knew one of my friends so it was strange that we hadn't ever come across each other before. We started dating. It was a little awkward because we could sense our uni days were coming to a close. Because we were both from the North West, we came to a tacit agreement to head home that summer, so we could continue to see each other without the pressure of making a huge commitment so early in the relationship. It worked out well – we married in 2005 and have a beautiful daughter.
May (Medical Sciences 2004)
My now husband was the housemate of a fellow student on my course, and we have different recollections of our first meeting. He believes he first saw me dancing on a stage at a Blondie tribute band, with his housemate. I believe our first meet was him offering me his last cheddar, in the big Parkinson corridor, after he'd lost his two front teeth giving a drunken piggy back ride to another housemate.
Our first date was a drink in the library pub. We are now married with our first child named after the housemate/classmate who is the reason we have for meeting.
Mikhel C Pipariya (Structural Engineering 2010)
The year was 2009, and I was with a group of friends right across the famous Parkinson Steps when Sonam was introduced to me outside the Flames Restaurant. She was from Spain, studying Fashion Design which intrigued me as I was from an engineering background with roots from Malaysia. We remained friends for years until one day I proposed to her and we got married in 2020 in Sabah, Malaysia.
We now both live in London, and Leeds will always remain dear in our hearts as the place we first met. Thank you, Leeds!
Rebecca Grace (Environment and Business 2011)
My husband and I met in the Leeds University Hiking Club in 2008. During one daytrip to the Lakes, I was too busy looking at my compass whilst walking downhill and tripped over and fell into a cow pat. My (now partner) didn't know who I was at the time but thought it was absolutely hilarious. I obviously left an impression...16 years later we are married with two children and a cat.
We still love hiking and have a lot of love for Leeds University and all the amazing friends and memories we made there.
Danny Roberts (Sociology 2011)
I met Sarah at a RAG (Raise and Give) speed dating event on the 7th February 2011. She was one of the last people I spoke to at the end of the night. We had a great time and started to talk more. With so many strange connections, same interests and sense of humour, our interest in each other started to blossom. Fast forward 12 years, we are still madly in love, have recently got married, and are expecting our first child together. I can’t thank Leeds University enough!
Lucy Burrows-Smith (Psychology 2011)
My older brother, Charlie, was at Leeds. In his first year, he made friends with someone called John. They were in A block and B block in Devonshire Halls, and then they lived together in second year, third year, and then in London after University. From the age of 14 I would go up to visit my brother during school half terms, and always had a bit of a crush on John (captured in my diaries at the time!).
Fourteen years later, Charlie had a daughter, and he asked John to be a godfather to her. It was at her first birthday that John and I got chatting. We realised we'd both grown up, we were both single, and we both fancied each other, so we arranged our first date. Three months later he moved in, 12 months after that we got engaged. Now seven years on, we are married and have two children. And Charlie is godfather to our son!
Thank you to Leeds for putting Charlie and John in nextdoor blocks so that their friendship could blossom, and our relationship could bloom. We wouldn't be here without Leeds.
Mohammed Al-Homaid (International Business 2014)
I came to Leeds in 2010 to do my International Foundation Year, which was compulsory for all international students. After I had completed the programme, I got accepted in to first year to do a three-year degree course in BSc International Business at LUBS (Leeds University Business School). On a misty December evening in 2012, almost at sunset, I first met my future wife Fatima at Caffe Nero, the Headrow branch.
We sat at a table next to the window which afforded us a view to the magnificent building of Leeds Town Hall. As she was doing her final year in the same degree course, the reason for us meeting up at the cafe was for her to give me second-hand books related to modules I was doing in my second year. We both learnt that we were doing the same degree course from the Qatari students community and mutual friends. Equally, social media platforms played a big role in making us engage in virtual private conversations about study-related matters and sort of made us break the gender barrier, which, almost after a year or so, led us to meet over coffee (aka go on a date!).
The spark between us had been felt not only the moment we sat at that table, but was felt in our happy smiley faces when our paths crossed down the streets of Leeds city centre, where we both were living at Park Row, or on campus. I knew from those short moments that the spark between us was what a loving couple would call intimacy!
Fatima and I remained friends for a few years after graduating and going back to our home country and are now happily married. We now work for the same company but in different departments. Transferring the knowledge and the learning experience we have had at Leeds wherever possible. And the love we both have for Leeds goes beyond what words can express.
Arun Chhotu (Nanotechnology 2014)
My wonderful girlfriend and I met in the halls at Leeds and have been together for 11 years next month. We have travelled the world together, lived abroad and now live in London.
Karl Finer (MSc International Business 2014)
It was my sixth day in Leeds. I had enrolled on my program, met a few people, and settled into my apartment which was close to the business school. It was just another night, and my friends and I decided to go to an international gathering right next to Old Bar.
As we entered, my friend started dancing with someone. As I was looking on, a girl approached and asked if this was my friend dancing with her friend? I responded yes! We started talking and at one point she complimented my hoodie, to which I thanked her and said "I'm very patriotic", to which she asked "wow, how long have you been here" to which I responded "six days", which she found to be a funny answer.
Today we are married and live in the Greater Toronto Area. We have just bought our first property together, and are settled in nicely.
The picture I have attached is the first one we took together. I am wearing the Leeds Uni hoodie too.
Gabriella Neidle (Ecology and Environmental Biology 2015)
I met my husband, James, in my first few weeks at Leeds Uni at the Jewish Society, in Autumn 2011. Dates were mostly hanging out at my Leodis flat or his house in Hyde Park, and the occasional cinema trip in Kirkstall or the Hyde Park Picture House. We got engaged in October 2016 and married October 2017, and now live in London with our toddler son and lots of friends from our uni days!
Christina (MSc International Marketing Management 2015)
It was in February 2015 that I met my boyfriend Jonathan in Leeds. I was enrolled in a master's degree to study marketing with less than four months to go, and was planning to move back to Germany after graduation. Jonathan worked as a musician, playing in different bands and working part-time at The Edge, but it was actually in a small bar in Headingley where we met for the first time.
Our love was instant and strong – since our first meeting, we met almost every day and we officially started our relationship over a pint on a sunny day on The Original Oak's outdoor terrace. As I had to leave my student flat, we soon moved in together and have since lived in Leeds, Shanghai and now Yokohama, Japan!
Our shared love for Leeds and Leeds Uni is strong and we love going back every couple of years, walking down memory lane on campus, passed where we lived in Headingley and enjoying craft beer at our favourite bars and pubs. The year 2023 is special for us, as we will get married this summer. Thank you Leeds, for making me find my special someone!
Rion Clarke-Fortune (Sports Science 2015)
Hello Leeds, I hope you are well. It was during my postgraduate degree that I met my now fiancée – soon to be wife (in the summer of this year). I met her on the 4th July 2015 at an Independence Day BBQ taking place at St Marks Residence (important information for later).
Our eyes locked and I didn’t appreciate at that moment my life had completely changed for the better. My fiancée, being very resourceful, managed to persuade me to give her my Adidas vintage windbreaker as she was cold. It didn’t come to my attention that it was a warm summers day in Leeds and her actual intentions were to know when I was leaving the BBQ so I could retrieve my windbreaker and we could swap contact details in the process.
Fast forward seven amazing years, which included a year of long-distance relationship (me based in London and her based in Barcelona), and two years of Covid lockdown, we are soon to be married! I actually proposed to her in the exact same spot where we first met at St Marks Residence, I managed to set up a fake University tour around St Marks with the support of Leeds University, donning the aforementioned vintage Adidas windbreaker.
Shout out to Michael Longstaff – his Robert de Niro acting skills managed to throw my fiancée off the proposal scent. An added bonus he even managed to capture the special moment in a photo enabling us to constantly relive such a fantastic day. Leeds is a great city, with great people and a great university. That is my Leeds love story.
Betsy Reid (Theatre and Performance 2018)
Toby and I met on the Fruity dance floor just one week into my Freshers experience. We have been together ever since and got married last April. The cheesy music playing as the backdrop to our first encounter was referenced heavily during the best man’s speech!
We both fell in love with the city alongside each other, and whilst Toby is from Oxford and I’m from Blackburn, we stayed in Leeds and hope to never leave.
Imy (Linguistics and Spanish 2019)
Mine is a story of inter-university love. I was a Uni girl, he was a Beckett guy, and we met the day after Varsity in September of 2016. I can't remember who won the rugby match, but as we approach our seventh Valentine's Day together, we're grateful that we each chose to study in the greatest city in the world, both still feeling like winners all these years later.
Alicia Smith (Adult Nursing 2019)
I was walking past the Refectory trying to get home when this boy started to speak to me like he knew me. I had never met him in my life. After suffering in awkward silence, I kindly said that I think he had the wrong person. He then said he’d realised as soon as he opened his mouth, but he couldn’t get himself to stop. We laughed about it and got a drink from the coffee van outside the Refectory. Still laughing about it together four years later, here's to many more.
Jude Sheridan (Philosophy, Politics and Economics 2020)
I had an old school friend visit in first year. He wasn’t at uni at the time so I let him read a couple of the essays I wrote so he could get a feel. When it came to submitting what I wrote through Turnitin, we had no idea how to format the thing properly and he suggested I do a double space between paragraphs. Trusting this, I got my essay back as a first but with the comment “this essay suffers from terrible formatting”. I love him now, but he’s not allowed to make any suggestions about my work anymore!
Antonia (English Literature 2021)
During my final year at Leeds I joined Hinge and immediately matched with a slightly older guy. We went on a date in the city centre where we discovered we had both been to Leeds Uni. We connected immediately and bonded over drinks and stories of our times on campus. We even wondered how likely it was that we had crossed paths in Eddy B during the years our courses overlapped.
Two years later we’ve just moved in together with our puppy and still visit Leeds together whenever we can!
Zoë Levenson (Dental Surgery 2021)
In my first year of University in 2016, one of our 'ice-breaker' activities for the cohort was a competition fashioning an outfit out of bin bags! Well, he saw me from across the room in that bin bag and it was love at first sight.
We were in the same friendship group and started speaking more and more to each other and it was instant chemistry. Less than four months later we started dating officially. Last year we had our five-year anniversary and he proposed to me by the Bronte waterfall in Howarth, and I said yes! Here we are now six years down the line, both graduated with a distinction, and finally getting married this November.
Leeds was a huge part of our love story and we might never have met without it.
Deep Chowatia (International Business 2021)
My love story started in Leeds during January 2020 when I started liking my girlfriend. And on 14th of Feb we had our first kiss. A kiss that changed everything in my life.
I met my girlfriend in November 2019 through a mutual friend and then we started chatting and even started going out. My girlfriend was the first one to show interest in me and although I knew she liked me, I never said a thing as I was a shy person hailing from India.
I remember every detail of that special night when we kissed for the first time. Technically she kissed me first which was a bit shocking for me but that moment my feelings for her developed and we kissed again. We started our relationship. I remember she used to go for her dance practice and would come back late, but I still used to wait for her with the dinner I used to make for her so that we could enjoy it together. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever met and not just beautiful from the outside but from inside as well. She helped me a lot with my studies as for me it was difficult to adapt to the UK, and she was brought up here. Coincidentally she was born in the same city where I live now (New Delhi) so it made this relationship more special, and she could speak my mother tongue and her parents were Indian too.
During Covid she went back to Birmingham and for us it was a long-distance relationship. After that she came back to Leeds in October 2021 to stay with me and during this time I said I love you to her, to which she replied I love you too.
The Covid situation got bad again and I had to return back to my home country India as my parents were worried. So again it was a long distance relationship for us. Over the next year I struggled a lot with my job and career but she always stayed by my side. She even visited India, met my parents and during that time I wanted to propose to her but I couldn't due to fear of my parents as they came from an orthodox background where love marriage is not a choice. I couldn't tell her that I wanted to spend my entire life with her and she went back to India and we had an argument and she blocked me.
Even today I write her letters of asking for forgiveness and giving me another chance to make things right for us because I know she dreamt of living her entire life with me, but it was because of my certain circumstances. I feared my parents’ disapproval and also my career as I was still struggling to find a better job so that I can provide her a better life.
I love you and I miss you more. I hope maybe one day she will talk to me and give me another chance so that I can fulfil my dream too of living life together forever.
Fufeng Peng (Human Resource Management 2022)
We met in language classes, went to Leeds together, lived together and went back to China together. You could say we got together thanks to Leeds University.
At first she struck me as unapproachable because she was so pretty and cute and I was just an ordinary guy. We chatted very little even though we were on WeChat. It was only when we went to Leeds together that we started talking more and realised that she wasn't difficult to get along with and we had a lot in common. When we got to Leeds we became more intimate and eventually we became boyfriend and girlfriend the day after my birthday.
I love her eyes, her beautiful face, her maturity and sweetness, she fits all my fantasies of a perfect wife and Valentine's Day 2023 will be our 650-day anniversary together. I hope she will be healthy, happy every day and stop being angry about people and things that are not worth it, we have a long road ahead of us.
Izzy Mulligan (English and French 2022)
I met my girlfriend at Leeds in 2019, she was in her first year and I was in my second year. My friends made fun of me for dating a fresher, and her friends were shocked that she was brave enough to walk through Hyde Park to come to my house from Central Village.
She is my first girlfriend, and I came out to my parents for us. We had the most magical three years at uni together. Thank you Leeds for being the most wonderful first home we could have ever imagined. We loved Indie Thursdays, Royal Park Pub quiz nights, charity shopping in Headingley, and of course writing our dissertations together (gossiping) in Laidlaw silent study.
We hope to move back to Leeds in the future and live together in the city where we fell in love.
Zaryaab Akhtar (MEng Chemical and Nuclear Engineering 2022)
My partner and I were lucky enough to meet in first year - we both lived at Ellerslie Halls and it turned out we only lived 20 minutes away at home!
Even so, she did English Language which might be as close to you can get to a polar opposite of me and without Leeds and Ellerslie - and the fantastic events put on by the University - I don't think we'd have even spoken. And here we are, five years together and plans for a whole lot longer. Still exploring this beautiful city together. We've travelled the world with each other, but nothing truly beats our new home.
Jun (Mathematics 2022)
I met my girlfriend during a Halloween night out in my first year. In none other than the legendary Fruity! We have endured lockdown together, lived at her family home for a year, and moved in together for the remaining two years of uni. We have been abroad together and visited other regions of the UK. We still live together post-graduation and are planning for our future! I may have found the one, who knows?
Utsav Gunjan (Business Analytics & Decision Sciences 2022)
It was in the halls of Burley Road,
Where our love story first began to unfold,
The City of Leeds, where love first blooms,
I met her, my heart's sweetest muse.
A game of snooker, where our eyes did meet,
Fate had brought us together, love so sweet,
With eyes as bright as the morning sun,
And a smile that could light up anyone.
She asked me to join her on a trip to the university,
To buy comics and posters, a journey so heavenly.
We laughed and we talked, shared moments so dear,
As we strolled through the university, our hearts did cheer.
With every step we took, our bond grew stronger,
Our love story, a beautiful song to be sung forever.
We picked our favourite posters, with care and glee,
Death Note and The Joker, our memories to be.
We received free pizzas, as a bonus surprise,
And I captured her beauty, with my camera's eyes.
We played and we laughed, ate together, walked hand in hand,
Our hearts beating as one, in a beautiful band.
We danced to the music, under the starry night sky,
Our love, a never-ending story, forever to fly.
We whispered sweet nothings, as the hours passed by,
Our love, a beautiful symphony, forever to sigh.
We talked of our dreams, and shared our hearts,
Our love, a beautiful work of art, forever to start.
As the night came to an end, and the dawn broke through,
We knew that our love, was forever true.
We held each other close, and shared a kiss,
Our love, a beautiful fairytale, forever to bliss.
We laughed and we played, shared meals side by side,
Hand in hand, we walked with an unbroken stride.
We let loose and celebrated, as the night came alive,
Conversations deep and meaningful, as our souls did thrive.
1.5 years later, here we are still,
Living in the same house, our love forever will.
We cook together, and go on dates,
Reminding us of the love that awaits.
Through the ups and downs, we stand as one,
Our love, like a beautiful rose, forever begun.
Though time may pass, and things may shift,
Our love remains constant, a beautiful gift.
Our story is a testament to the beauty of fate,
For in her, I found my soulmate.
In the halls of Burley Road, our love first took flight,
And will forever be a tale to tell, of love shining so bright.
Diao Yuqi (MA Professional Language and Intercultural Studies 2023)
Last year, I was studying MAPLIS at Leeds. In the second semester, I met my boyfriend. We pushed each other to complete essays. We also cooked together and travelled to Europe. After graduation, we decided to go back to China and applied for jobs in Beijing. We all know that we have to meet many difficulties in the future but we will collect all the courage we have achieved at Leeds to make progress together.
Love for Leeds
Carla Lim (Chinese with Linguistics and Phonetics 1977)
From the day I travelled to Leeds for the admissions interview, I knew the city was my new and forever home. The campus was the place where I could experiment and learn to be me – whatever that meant.
Did I learn more in classes, in recreation activities, socialising with many new friends, or absorbing the city's offerings? Impossible to calculate. But I left with a great degree that helped shape a career, and so much more: memories of cheese and onion baps, lounging around the MJ, going over and under in the paternoster lift, racing down the Red Route, snooker in the union, chatting with friends during long, dark winter's nights in Hunslet Grange, staunch support of an amazing footie team with the world's greatest fans, and, oh, I could go on and on.
I may now live thousands of kilometres away but every trip back to Europe takes me to Leeds for a few days, just to be there. Who knows, retirement might see me moving back there one day.
Cindy Chan (MA Communication Studies 1994)
The architecture of Brotherton Library is amazing and artistic. I recall the time studying and finding reference books inside. When I graduated, I took lots of gorgeous photos outside the library with my coursemates. As for the city, the Corn Exchange is a magnificent and vibrant place where I explored different masterpieces of arts. Every single candle holder seemed to have a story behind it. The design and colour just made it unique and precious.
Huyen Thu Vu (MA Economics and Finance 2008)
It has been 14 years now since I said “Until next time” to Leeds. Yet, whenever I think of the place, my heart and soul are still full of emotions, warm and loving memories, somewhere I now still call my second hometown.
Coming to Leeds was a dream come true. And the first sight of Leeds stole my heart. The beautiful leaves and trees turning into red and yellow as it was autumn when I came, the peaceful sight of old people walking with their sticks on the lane, and the gentle smile towards me as we talked at the bus stop... All these feelings and moments are still clear in my mind.
Leeds University impressed me first with the Meet and Greet team (M&G). I took a coach from London to Leeds, and was warmly welcomed and picked up by the University M&G team who then took me in a car to my first rental, which was in Headingley. The friendliness of the people and the helpful services urged me to become part of the team later when possible. Thus one year later, I myself was in the team and offered Leeds fresher students the welcome services which I enjoyed a year ago.
My love for the University deepened as I engaged in as many activities the University offered as possible: from the induction week with lots of helpful activities such as Culture Shock Drama, University and Leeds City tour, LUBS study skills workshops, to joining after-class clubs throughout the year – including the International Students Club, the Living Room hosted by the University’s Christian Union where I built a long-term friendship with some lovely and friendly folks there.
Joining these activities improved my English, helped me understand more about England as well as the people and culture, and made my study in Leeds more meaningful. From these clubs, I had chances to join many trips at the weekend: from visiting the church and enjoying the typical Sunday services, to experiencing Sunday brunch at home of the club member, or doing a walk together in the park or nearby forest.
Leeds holds a special and eternal part in my heart. The best time of my youth was there, my dream was realized there. Leeds is always very beautiful and lovely in my heart and mind.
I still wish one day I could go back to this land, to live my best memories all over again.
Sanjukta Sarkar (Intellectual Property Rights 2010)
The smell of fish and chips and walking through the Hyde park to attend early morning classes is what I miss and loved during my stay in Leeds. The present law building was not built at that time and we used to have our classes in the rooms located in the old houses in the lane. It gave a cosy and warm feeling. It used to be like our home. Oh and the late night studying at the Parkinson Library brings a lot of nostalgia.
Aishi Dastidar (Sociology 2010)
For me, Leeds will always be a second home. People there have been friendly, kind and extremely cooperative as I remember. I met some great people through the BA Sociology course; made genuine friends with whom I am still in touch. I would always be grateful to my professors who made life and study both easier and enjoyable for international students like me. In the initial days, I had spent a lot of time at Oakwood library and the central library in the city centre. I enjoyed the serene atmosphere of the libraries and felt privileged to have access to so many books by renowned authors from all over the world. I generally spent time at Charcos opposite Parkinson's Steps/Refectory during weekdays having coffee or lunch with friends, taking walks around the city centre, watching latest movies at The Light, visiting Kirkstall Abbey or Yeadon. Hyde Park during summer months was a blessing.
Even though I was away from family, Leeds felt safe and I had friends and flatmates I could count on. I would always cherish memories of the University of Leeds as I believe that I got the flavour of education there; the education that I acquired made me think, question and evaluate things that I did not know how to do through the education that I received back at home. It was about understanding and learning through discussions and assignments. It was definitely a once in a lifetime kind of experience and I truly feel privileged and honoured to have got the opportunity to study and spend important years of my life in Leeds.
Junfei Hu (Electronics & Electrical Engineering 2010)
I was born and raised in China. In 2003 I went to the University of Leeds to study alone.
At the beginning of 2004, I saw an advertisement on campus that there was an international student club, so I tried to participate. In the club I met Mavis, one of the club’s founders and a Methodist missionary. The club was active every Wednesday evening, and the weekly activities were varied. I remember that there was a visit to Leeds City Hall in the spring semester, which was personally hosted by the Mayor of Leeds. Mavis was very proud to tell me that she had organized this activity.
Ever since I met Mavis, she would invite me to her house for Christmas. We’d worship together in church. In the summer of 2007, I was hospitalized due to illness. She personally visited me in the hospital and walked with me in the hospital garden. After I submitted my thesis in May 2010, I went to work at the University of Birmingham. She gave me many household items at home and asked me to take them to Birmingham for my needs.
After I returned to Leeds University in September and passed my VIVA, I decided to return to China. I stayed at home for one night before leaving. Mavis gave me the English name Matthew Jun Fei Freeman. After returning to China, I went to a university in Jiangxi as a professor. That Christmas, she still remembered to send me a Christmas card and her photo.
In 2011, when I returned to Leeds to attend the graduation ceremony, Mavis attended. At the ceremony, she happily took pictures of me.
In 2012, I moved to work and live in Morayshire, Scotland. She wrote me fewer letters and so I went to see her in 2018. She was very weak, but she still insisted on living alone. After the lockdown in 2020, I had some free time, and I contacted the Minister of the church and learned that she has been admitted to a nursing home, and that she has been in a hospital. She passed away at Christmas 2021.
Keng Loong Lim (Electrical Electronic Engineering 2012)
I still remember fondly the first day I arrived in Leeds, I was struck by the beauty of the campus and the friendly atmosphere. From the natural sciences to the humanities, the University of Leeds has something for everyone, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of this spectacular university.
I met new people, developed new skills, and had a lot of fun. I was part of the University’s Malaysian and Singaporean society and took part in numerous activities, which allowed me to engage with people from all walks of life.
As an alum of the University of Leeds, I still feel a strong connection to the city and the University. I am proud to have been part of such a great institution, and I am grateful for the opportunities that it has provided me with. The friends I made while studying at the university are still close friends today, and I know that they will be friends for life.
To sum it up, my love for Leeds and its University is a result of the wonderful experiences I had while studying there. The city and the University are both full of life, energy, and excitement, and I am proud to be associated with them. I would encourage anyone who is considering studying at the University of Leeds to take the leap and immerse themselves in everything that the city and the university have to offer.
Sarah (Social Work 2012)
Leeds feels like a home away from home even a decade later. I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I visit and that is in no small part down to my student days that were fun, inspiring and gave me lifelong friendships.
Hillary Brant (Fine Art 2013)
From the day that I arrived after such a long wait, the city just instantly felt like somewhere I belonged. I‘ve always felt a draw to the UK in general, but this was the first time I felt really at home. I lived in the Lupton flats, and can still imagine the bike ride from there all the way to my classes like I never left. The Original Oak was one of our favourite pubs for trivia, the tree-lined walk near the park, even the chicken shop across from The Library. The bars and club inside the student union were the most shocking for me, but also the most fun!
The campus was alive with potential and nooks and crannies that made it so neat to explore. The number of new activities, and the absolute unconditional kindness from the fellow students were things I still haven’t experienced much to this day.
Being from the southern US, I felt out of place, but to be welcomed so quickly by fellow flatmates and classmates made it so much easier. We had tea at the Corn Exchange and I found a beautiful turquoise ring I still have to this day. We walked the Victorian Quarter in awe of each and every piece of architecture. I watched the living statues along the street, and took photos of the simplest things that for me were pure fascinations. We fell into a rhythm of classes and going out to the silent disco, going to trivia, getting groceries and having Sunday roasts, playing back of the bus games, riding bikes home when we probably shouldn’t have, and cracking up when I hit the curb and fell off mine.
Every night out felt like an intoxicating fun ride into my highest expectations of what I’d imagined Leeds to be like. Everyone took care of each other and I made better friends during my time at Leeds than I have through most of my life. I fell in love with the people and the city so fast. I’ve been waiting a decade to go back but haven’t been able to for various reasons.
Overall, I am eternally grateful for my time at the wonderful University and I only wish others to experience the pure joy and indescribable love for the city and University that I did.
Paisit Navarattara (MA International Business 2014)
Before I went to Leeds, the University sent me the information about the city, the lifestyle and the campus. I feel this was very lovely and impressive that you take care of your students very well even before I’d paid the fees and accepted the offer.
Furthermore, even though I graduated from the University a long time ago you still keep in touch.
Alicia (MSc Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering 2019)
One of my lovely memories is when I was writing my dissertation at the LUU, spending hours and enjoying the desks that had pedal sewing machines and amazing music. All of that added to the decoration of the space, created a motivating environment to make a daily huge progress in my dissertation.
Ngan Ngoc Ha Tran (MA TESOL Studies 2020)
I’ve always remembered my year at Leeds and at Leeds University. Here, I joined a society called “Performing Arts” in LUU, and with the experiences from this club, I found my way of life again. I also found another hobby in learning new musicals and understanding more about the English cultures. I had my first musical performance here. It was unforgettable and I was truly out there singing with all my heart. I want to say thanks to Leeds Uni for giving me a chance to grow and being confident.
Jessica Rodber (Audiology 2022)
When I first started at Leeds Uni I lived at Oxley, out in seemingly the middle of nowhere. It was beautiful, quiet and surrounded by nature. In the summer it was great since you could have a picnic in the grassy patches and listen to the trees and the birds, it was great to experience nature whilst studying.
Through my second and final year, I lived in Woodhouse, in the city. I was able to find everything I need within walking distance, the people and atmosphere were lovely too. I could hear and see fireworks on bonfire night at Hyde Park from my room, and at Christmas, Leeds is beautiful with lights and decorations.
Overall, Leeds is a beautiful city, with a good mix of nature too. Living so close to the university campus was great too, it felt so safe and welcoming.
Amarens (Msc Sustainable Food Systems 2022)
Leeds made me fall back in love with myself and with life in general. I was depressed before and during my studies at Leeds. The amazing community at UoL helped me realise there's so much to live for and that every person has unique qualities, and something valuable to offer to the world. It's been really tough but studying at Leeds made me break a negative cycle I had been in for way too long.
Sharifa Chowdhury (TESOL Studies 2022)
Leeds resonates like a breeze of fresh air whenever I hear its name. In a very snowy night, I stepped into the fairy land of Leeds. I did not know that with the morning light, I was going to have a new chapter in my life.
Immediately after roaming around the place where I lived in Leeds, the calm and clean ambiance of the place made me feel at home. Deep in my mind, I murmured that this is the place where I always wanted to belong and finally I had found my dream-land. The magic of the city spell bound me with thrill when I roamed around the classic infrastructure in the city centre. The archaic but sophisticated beauty of the city imprinted an everlasting impact on my mind. The wide-open green places like Roundhay Park and Hyde Park offered me a sanctuary of relaxation then and now – a mental escape from my busy life.
Leeds is living in my mind like a place of happiness. My carefree visits to the charming places around Leeds, my joyful shopping times in the city centre and in the lively local shops, my colourful moments with friends and tutors at Leeds University campus filled my life with glory and memories that I will cherish forever. I love you Leeds!