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Valentine’s Day: Alumni love stories from the past 6 decades

We *love* love, don’t you? To celebrate Valentine’s Day 2024, we asked our alumni community to share the tale of how they met their significant other on campus. In this blog, you can read our favourites!

14 February 2024

Thank you to everyone who shared their Newcastle University love stories with us on social media. Below, we’ve picked a few of our favourites from each decade – Happy Valentine’s Day all!


"It will never last": Gordon Wealleans and Barbara Pimbley (Certificate of Education, 1968)

United by deciding to by-pass university in favour of a college where we could, more directly, meet our desire to teach, we were, perhaps fatally, divided by our interests and personalities. Whilst I was relishing my role as Student Union Social Secretary and deep into sports, Barbara was shy, diligent, a linguist and folk singer. The consensus would have been ‘it will never last’.  

However, my best friend pointed out that he played centre-half and guitar (neither well). Barbara’s best friend suffered as my tennis mixed-doubles partner and was also Barbara’s harmonious other half in their folk group (very well). There was a possible melding and some hope.

They are still our best friends and the bonding glue they spread has stuck for 57 years so far. It has adhered through long careers with promotions shifting us around Carlisle schools but, thankfully, never in the same one. It has survived children, a Silver Wedding anniversary, children’s marriages, grandchildren, a Golden Wedding anniversary, early retirement, lots of life’s slings and arrows and we are still in love.



A Classic romance: David Gill and Caroline Dudley-Smith (BA Hons Classical Studies, 1982)

We probably both have different stories about how we first met – but it was during Freshers’ Week 1979 at a Classics Department party for new students. We were both Leazes residents (David was in Freemen’s and Caroline in Havelock Hall) and we were just (good!) friends who would see each other at lectures, ceilidhs and at Christian Union events until the final year when we got closer and enjoyed meals out at the Italian restaurant, Marco Polo, on Dean Street.

After graduating, we went our separate geographical ways: David moved to Oxford to embark on his DPhil on Athenian black-gloss pottery and Caroline travelled to Exeter University to begin a PGCE in Secondary Education. Despite the different destinations, our departure from Newcastle marked the beginning of the road to engagement (1984) and marriage (1985).

Our first year of marriage was spent in Rome. Today, we live near Sutton Hoo in suburban Suffolk, where David is an academic and Caroline is a poet. We are looking forward to our Ruby Wedding in July 2025!



A family of Newcastle graduates: Paula Hardman (BDS, 1990) and Richard Waterhouse (BA Hons Architecture, 1988)

We both started university in 1985: Richard reading architecture and me, dentistry (both very long degree programmes!)

We were engaged in 1992 at Dunstanburgh Castle and married in 1994, with our reception at Langley Castle in Hexham. Hexham is still our home and it’s our 30th wedding anniversary this year!

I’m a Professor of Paediatric Dentistry at Newcastle University and Richard (recently semi-retired) was the Chief Exec of a global construction data business.

Our oldest son is also a Newcastle graduate, completing his undergraduate and Master’s in Politics recently, and out younger son has just joined Newcastle University Business School to study Economics with Finance. The university is certainly a massive part of our family!


First impressions: Carol Turnbull (BSc Agricultural Mechanisation, 1984) and Chris Millman (BSc Electrical & Electronic Engineering, 1984)

Chris and I met on 13 November 1981, just a few weeks into our first year at Newcastle. We were at an Agric ‘do’ out at Nafferton Farm: a 60s night. I remember Chris was dressed as John Lennon, complete with fake glasses, and was dancing on a table!

We spent the next 2 and a half years as best friends, first in Castle Leazes, then sharing a flat in Benwell with four other friends from a wide variety of degree courses. Favourite nights out were the Agric night in the Students' Union, and Friday nights in the Stage Door on Stowell Street.

Bizarrely, we didn’t start dating until just before graduation. We then spent a year 250 miles apart! Me in Aberdeen and him still in Newcastle. Chris proposed to me on 13 September 1984, on one knee in the middle of Fenwick’s bathroom department on a very busy Saturday morning, I accepted at high speed, just to get him on his feet again!

We married on Live Aid Day 1985, and now have three children and three grandchildren. Our daughter spent her university years at Newcastle too, even following our footsteps to Castle Leazes.


Meet-cute on the buses: James Whitworth (BSc Surveying & Mapping Science, 2001) and Nicola Bunn (BSc Maths and Psychology, 1998)

I met my wife Nicki in 1996 at a bus stop on the corner of Wingrove Road and Fenham Hall in Newcastle. We were both in our 2nd year. It was a Friday night and she was on her way to Taekwondo - I should have realised then that she was feisty!

Our first proper date was on Valentine’s Day 1997. We been together ever since, travelling to Australia after graduating and then moving around the country before settling down in Cheshire. We have 3 beautiful children - Joseph, Emily and Thomas - and our dog Alfie.

I often come to Newcastle to support the Geomatics department and am in close contact with the team there. Newcastle Uni will always be held close to my heart as I met my wife and some of my greatest friends.


First kiss on The Boat: Charlotte Jeavons (BSc Surveying and Mapping Science with Geography, 2000) and James Southgate (BSc Surveying and Mapping Science, 2000)

Charlotte and I met in the Bedson Building during the first-year course induction in September 1997. It turned out we were in the same tutor group and since surveying was quite a hands-on subject we spent a lot of time together over the next few months completing various surveying practicals. We got together as a couple on “The Boat” (where else!) on 6 November 1997 and have been together since.

In the first year, I was living at Castle Leazes whilst Charlotte was at Ethel Williams. I remember trying to sneak into Ethels and being caught by the warden on the front desk whilst Charlotte had no problems coming and going from Castle Leazes.

Newcastle was a great experience for both of us, though we don’t get back as often as we would like.

We got married in November 2004 and so we are coming up to our twentieth wedding anniversary. We have a twelve-year-old daughter and hopefully she’ll go to Newcastle too! I work in the oil and gas industry as an acquisition geophysicist project managing seismic surveys whilst Charlotte is in the Highways industry working as head of regional change.



Wedded bliss in the Quad: Libby Li (BA Hons Economics and Business Management, 2004) and Tony Tong (BSc Economics and Mathematics, 2001)

We met in Newcastle in 2000 at an event organised by Hong Kong students. I was in my first year and Tony was in his final year. We had our first date in Hong Kong during our Christmas break!

We returned to campus in summer 2010 to have our wedding photos taken in the Quadrangle but now live in Hong Kong, where I work in investment banking. We have a very sweet 5-year-old daughter now and have lots of great memories of our time at university.


In the Market for love: Julia Taylor (BSc Marketing, 2009) and Alex Bluckert (BA Hons Marketing and Management, 2009)

I started at Newcastle University in September 2005, on the Marketing BSc course, living at Richardson Road with great group of students. But I didn’t meet Alex until 2006, when he joined the university after a gap year. Fast forward a few years, and during the last few weeks of university, we realised we wanted to be together and did everything we could to make that a reality. After a few early dates along the Quayside and to Durham we knew this was something special.

Alex was from Yorkshire and I was from Liverpool, so we knew it wouldn’t be too difficult to make it work. We both left Jesmond in June 2009 and moved to Manchester - me to take up my first job after university and Alex to continue studying. We then moved to West London where I began a secondment at the London 2012 Government Communications Directorate based at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and later at the Treasury Building on Whitehall. Alex and I were lucky enough to see the dress rehearsal of the Olympics opening ceremony together at the East London stadium.

Alex's career with Vodafone was taking off and he was offered a two-year placement abroad. We could have pinched ourselves when he was posted in Milan!

We came back to the UK in 2015, which was a great year for us as we got married in the Lake District, bought a house in Newbury, Berkshire and laid down some roots. Two years later we welcomes baby Luca and shortly after, baby Genevieve.

In 2021 we relocated to North Yorkshire to allow the children to start school in 2021, and 2023 respectively. I now work in IT and Alex is on his 14th year at Vodafone, as their Digital Transformation Lead. We have taken the kids to Newcastle, shown them the landmarks and taken them along Osborne Road for a soft drink. Who knows if they will go to university, but we talk very fondly about the time we had at Newcastle and how much it changed the course of our lives.



"We had to cross the Atlantic to find each other!": Megan Colvin Saucedo (MA Museum Studies, 2013) and Sebastian Saucedo (MA International Politics, 2013)

My husband and I met at Newcastle University in 2012. I'm from Texas (US) and he is from Mexico, but we had to go to the UK to find one another!  

We met early on in the year through our friend group, but nothing clicked. We had an amazing group of friends that we hung out with on a regular basis, so we were around each other quite a bit, but it wasn’t until a group trip to Poland in the spring of 2013 that we really started talking. Our first date was on 6 May 2013 at an “American” diner, which I believe has since closed. We spent many evenings at the Trent House, but had a couple special dates at El Coto, which I still crave.

After we had graduated in 2013, I moved back to Texas and he went home to Mexico a few months later. We really had no idea what our relationship would look like, but thought we would give it a try. Somehow, we kept it going and got married in Texas in July 2016. Our wedding was extra special because our “Newcastle friends” came from around the world to celebrate with us, including from Scotland, Germany, Austria, Canada and Greece. Three of our wedding party were Newcastle University graduates.

We were blessed with a baby girl in 2021. Presently, I am a middle school English teacher, and Sebastian is a media coordinator for a school district. Newcastle holds such a special place in both of our hearts for so many reasons, and we hope to one day make it back to the place where it all started.


Stereo love: Bridget Hamilton (BA Hons English Literature, 2014) and Sam Clegg (BA Hons Marketing and Management, 2011)

Sam and I met on Newcastle Student Radio in the Autumn term of 2013. We were both in the Exec Committee for the station and I remember our relationship being hot gossip at first!

We have stayed in the North East since graduating and bought our first house in Washington a few years ago. After finishing his degree, Sam studied a Master’s and ran several businesses before starting his PhD and taking up a lecturer post in Entrepreneurship at Northumbria University. Meanwhile I work in the arts and have just got a literary agent in the hopes of publishing my first novel for teenagers. We are both self-confessed 'workaholics' but we make sure we get out and enjoy the local area a lot including walking, kayaking, sea swimming, climbing and so on.

The icing on the cake was getting married at the end of last summer on the gloriously sunny Newcastle quayside with all of our family - and many fellow alumni - around us. Three of my four bridesmaids were my university housemates! We are super excited for what comes next and always love walking through campus and remembering where it all started.


Soon-to-be married: Lydia Neave (BSc Psychology, 2018) and Joseph Frost (BSc Biomedical Sciences with Medical Microbiology, 2017)

We both lived in Bayles House, Castle Leazes. Me and the girls on floor 5 got invited to a pre-drinks party on Joe's floor (1) on the first night out. We all instantly clicked as a big group of friends - the Bayles girls and boys and were inseparable ever since. In second year, us girls moved into a house together and so did the boys, in Jesmond. We did everything together: nights out, beach trips, dinner parties, gigs, sports.

Our friendship group was all very platonic throughout the 3 years of uni. After graduation, some of us went on holiday to Spain for a music festival and that’s when Joe and I realised there was a relationship between us that was more than friends. It was like a ‘Monica and Chandler’ from Friends situation for a while!

We weren’t sure how to navigate going from friends to partners in the middle of such a tight-knit group. And whilst our friends were a bit shocked at first, they were incredibly happy for us and have been our best friends ever since. Joe and I remained in Newcastle and have lived here for almost 10 years now. We can’t imagine living anywhere else and hope to settle down here in the long run.

We took a special trip to Bali in August of 2022 and on the day of our 5th anniversary of being together, Joe proposed on a gorgeous beach! Now we’ve been planning our wedding which has come around fast. Joe has his day 1 ‘Bayles boys’ as groomsmen and I have my day 1 ‘Bayles girls’ as bridesmaids!


Going the (long) distance: Sam Midwood (BA Film and Media, 2018) and Amy Gildert (MA English Literature, 2018)

Amy and I first met through the university's Film Society in 2017 and became really good friends quickly, to the point we were having late night calls and sharing everything with each other. We had great times having fun at comic cons with our friends and stayed connected through the pandemic doing virtual hangouts too.

It all changed when Amy went to work abroad as a teacher. It was the first time both of us were single at the same time and our friendship became something more - it only took 4 years after us graduating! 

Since then, we've been so happy together. We're currently long distance, but Amy has just been offered a job to work in London so will be living together soon!