Love has blossomed over the textbooks for many students here at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) over the years.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we asked alumni for their stories of romance in loved-up Leicester and they did not disappoint. Here are some of our favourites:
Mike and Sue Craft met at Leicester Poly in 1979. He was doing a BA in Economics, while she was studying an HND in Business. They met when one of Mike’s two housemates brought Sue along to help them buy a birthday cake for the other housemate. Although they officially started going out two weeks later, says Mike, “we always consider the corner of Leicester Market as the spot where we met. Not the most romantic of venues of course but it suits us. We have managed to embarrass our children by having a kiss and cuddle on the spot some years later. We are still together 40 years after the cake buying expedition.”
Student life in the late 70s in Leicester meant lots of gigs – Mike remembers seeing Dire Straits second on the bill at the DSU, Suzi Quatro, the John Peel roadshow and having a pint at the bar with The Damned’s lead singer Dave Vanian.
Sue, who was living at the Poly’s Scraptoft campus, remembers gigs by singer Judy Tzuke: “Around Scraptoft, all you could hear was her album being played,” she said. “Everyone had a copy.”
On campus, the students’ union was home to a branch of Lloyds Bank, and Sue remembers cashing cheques for £2 “which would last us the whole weekend”.
As business students, they had their lessons in James Went building – with its famous paternoster lift – and organised a business studies society, hiring a nightclub off New Walk for discos and the Post House Hotel in Narborough Road for their graduation ball.
They graduated in 1980 at De Montfort Hall (where Mike had been a part-time roadie) and moved south, Sue to work at Marconi in Portsmouth and Mike at Southampton, in supply chain management for B&Q head office. They got married and settled in Fareham, have two children, Ali and Laura and a grandchild called Alice.
Celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary at The Oval cricket ground
Both retired last year but still stay active, Mike playing tennis regularly while Sue is a volunteer at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, where she worked as an advisor and manager after bringing up their family.
They had another visit to Leicester when they accompanied their son, Ali and his wife, Jen who were both Leicester University graduates, back to the city and went looking for their old haunts. They found The Globe and the market, but many of the pubs had changed names or have new uses, like The Charlotte.
Sue said: “We have fond memories of Leicester Poly and of being there. We have kept in touch with friends, through Christmas cards and meeting up sometimes.
“I can see why people say it’s the best days of your life - you had lots of freedom, you didn’t have to worry about any debt (because you had grants in those days) and you did make friends for life.”
John Richardson, who studied Industrial Business Studies, met and married Architecture student Ruth in 1997, six years after they met.
“I arrived at Gibson Hall at the start of my first year at Leicester Poly in September 1991 (the last year as a Poly before becoming DMU) My brother had driven me and helped me unload all my stuff into my shared room. On our way back down to the car we went through the reception area of the halls and he pointed out this girl and said she ‘looked alright!’
“Fast forward a couple of weeks and I plucked up the courage to ask her if she wanted to go for a drink when we happened to both be coming down the stairs at the same time which thankfully she agreed to. Not knowing Leicester very well I headed to the first pub we came to as we walked down New Walk and into town, entering the Saracens Head which at the time was particularly dodgy! One quick drink later and that was it for then!
“A few weeks later our friendship had grown and we went to a house party where, unsurprisingly we got quite drunk and one thing led to another!
“We started ‘going out’ on October 23rd 1991 and have been together ever since. In our second year we moved into a house together in Vernon St, Off Tudor Road, with two other friends and stayed there until after we had both graduated.
“We married in 1997 and have 2 boys now aged 14 and 15.
“I studied Industrial Business Studies and Ruth studied Architecture.
“Obviously we have very fond memories of DMU, Gibson Hall and Leicester!
Marketing consultant Sara Pearce
“I met my husband Andrew through a BA (Hons) Design Management team building project back in 1992-95. Not sure that’s quite what they meant by team building, but still strong after 24 married years and two teenagers.”
Ifeoluwa Alabi, business development manager
“We met at the business school in September 2007 and this year, we’ll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary”
Eugene Kwesi Wiredu and Linda Amoah
Eugene was a law student and Linda was studying Accounting and Finance. He saw her when they used to come to the law school for a class in business law. He said: “I saw her few times at the faculty of law but was very shy to approach her. This happened on several occasions and all occasions I lacked the courage to speak to her at that time. However, sometime in March 2008, I bumped into her at the Kimberlin Library and this time around I had the courage to chat her up. We became friends after a few months and started a relationship 3 months later. We continued our relationship after school and got married in September 2013 and currently with two kids. I am a practising Barrister /Solicitor in Ghana and have been practising for the past 7 years. I am also an adjunct lecturer.”
"My husband and I just got married in July 2019. We met at the student union on our first day of uni in 2004 at the then DMU Bedford campus. We lived together in the same halls (Lansdowne Road) in our first year and got together in the November of that year. Since finishing our degrees we have travelled the world together and spent a few years living in New Zealand and Australia before returning to live and work in the UK.
"This will be our first valentines as Mr & Mrs. 15 years together and still going strong!
I met my partner Chris at de Montfort in 2007. We only knew each other as friends of friends for a while and finally got together in 2009 at the beginning of our 3rd year (which was not ideal timing when we were trying to focus on dissertations etc!)
Since graduating we have moved to Kingston upon Thames, bought a house, adopted a cat, travelled to various countries together and finally tied the knot!
The first photo below was taken at the SU, and the second is from our wedding last year :)
Posted on Friday 14th February 2020