Happy Valentines' Day! This year we're celebrating all of the love stories that have come out of St Mary's University over the years. We put out a call to all couples who met at St Mary's to tell us their #SIMMSLove stories, and we're so excited to share them with you. If you're reading this and are part of a couple that met at St Mary's, make sure you follow us on Instagram and send us your love story in a DM - we'll repost it for all to see!
All of the writeups below are in the couples' own words and completely un-edited - we hope you enjoy reading about them!
Trudy and Aisling
Trudy and I first crossed paths at a Simms LFC fundraiser in Twickenham in 2014. A 90s themed fundraiser awaited us with Trudy donning the outfit of one of the Chuckle Brothers - standard Trudy.
At the time, Trudy was a football girl and I played Gaelic Football. We made it our duty to go down and support the football team with the hope of potentially recruiting some of these girls for Gaelic Football.
A few beers later and we managed to wager a deal with some of the footballers to give the sport a go and join us for our training session. That same weekend, two of the footballers strolled up, much to our surprise - with one of them being Trudy.
From Gaelic training and wild SU nights to enduring all-nighters in the library, we gradually found ourselves growing more fond of each other.
Fast forward 5 years and we are now engaged to be married in Summer 2021 in Ireland.
In the meantime St. Mary’s, we’re sure we will touch base with you in a couple of years time with some more updates.
Until then, see you at future alumni days! 🔵⚪️
Brendan and Ronnie
We started studying at Simms in September 1966. Ronnie (Veronica) [nee Sandell] was one of the first group of women at Simms. 1966 was the year that Simms first became a co-ed teacher training college.
I met Ronnie on the first Friday of term in the student’s bar at a performance by the Jug Trust organised by the students union. It turned out we were both studying Sociology as our second subject. My first subject was Handicrafts and Ronnie’s was Drama.
We completed our 3 year course on 4th July 1969 and were married in the college chapel on 5th July 1969 with the chaplain, Fr. Cunningham, officiating.
We are aware of other women from the first mixed cohort marrying Simmarians but we are absolutely sure we are the first couple from the first mixed cohort to marry given it was the day after we graduated.
Attached is the photo of the wedding group in front of the chapel. Naturally most are family with little or no connection with Simms but there are many college friends , some of whom we haven’t seen for many years. We sometimes wonder where they are now, it would be interesting to put names to faces (other than family which we can identify). Some are college staff at the time such as the bursar and principal. Sadly we know that one, Frank Wyatt, has died from cancer in the last few years
We believe that we have a unique record… Although there were other partnerships none can claim our record. We were the first couple from the 66-69 cohort to meet and eventually actually marry. We graduated on 4t July 1969 and married in the chapel on 5th July 1969.
Becky and Ben
Ben and I met at St Mary’s in 2010, I was a fresher and he was in his 2nd year. We met playing badminton - he would walk me back to Waldy 19 from the tennis hall after each session. Together we set up the badminton society, with me taking on the inaugural presidency in my second year. Since university we have bought a house together and are due to get married on the 25th April!!
Kathleen and David
David (BA Hons History and Religion) and Kathleen (nee Martin) (BSc Hons Geography and English) Wynn-Davies
David and I met on the steps of St Mary’s University Chapel as we were leaving the Academic Mass on the Wednesday of Freshers Week, Sept 1983. We hit it off right away and officially started dating on 4th Nov 83.
We have been together 36 years and married 31 years. We were married on 13 August 1988 and have three children, Therese (now aged 29), Ciara(26), and Stephen (24).
Ciara, our daughter, chose St Mary’s to study for her degree (2011-14), BA Hons Physical and Sports Education and Sports Science, and went on (2014-15) to study for her PGCE in Secondary School PE.
During this PGCE year she met Charlie Lucas (Simms 2008-11) and they will be married in the University Chapel this summer.
The Love Story continues... ❤
Des and Adam
We met each other on Tinder just before 3rd year of uni started. We were both sports students & in the same year however never crossed paths. After the first rugby game of the year he asked me to be his girlfriend at Viper Rooms. Now 3 years and 4 months later I'm still stuck with him - happily.
Dan and Kieren
I am Dan Smith, former Rugby League VP and SMSU VP.
It was late 2014, it was my third year, I had gone to the rugby at Twickers. I thought I would pop into the George for some drinks with my mate.
Little did I know that through a mutual friend I would get chatting to a gorgeous young lady who I would have spent almost every day with. She graduated in the following summer and myself the year after.
It is now over five years later and we are husband and wife, have a dog and now a 4 month old son.
Nathan and Claire
My wife and I met at St Marys in 1994. I was studying History with Irish Studies, based in Waldegrave Park 15, whilst my friend had a roommate in Waldegrave Park 17, Claire Donaghey, who was studying a BA (QTS) in Theology and Primary Teaching. In early 1995, after a few Blastaways and a special on Black Russians in the SU, I finally plucked up the courage to make my move and ask her out for a date...and the rest is history.
We moved in together around 12 months later and lived around Twickenham, then after University Claire went onto work for a school in Kew, whilst I worked in East Sheen for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. After 9 years in London we decided to move to Strabane in Northern Ireland, where Claire taught and I worked in arts marketing, then around 8 years ago we relocated to Norfolk.
Claire is now a headteacher for a local school, whilst I have developed a career in PR and Marketing. We have two great kids, Matthew and Daniel, and all of that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for a drinks special in the SU bar at SIMMS!
Craig and Maria
I met my now wife at St Marys in the year 2001. I arrived 2 days late after being stuck in Tunisia and appeared in Waldegrave Park 5 at 6:30am to be greeted by a very 'tired and emotional' senior resident. Maria Hanna.
We became friends quickly and by February 2002 we were together, the week after Valentine's day. We have since lived in Ireland, London and now Derbyshire. We married in 2012 on the eve of the London Olympic Games, and we have just celebrated the birth of our first son Ronan Patrick Liddle. I still play in the yearly Danny Burns memorial football match that remembers a St Mary's student that passed away when we were at the university. Last summer we revisited the college for the first time since 2005 and many happy memories flooded back.
Thank you St Marys
Craig and Maria
Alexia and Adam
My husband and I met during our second year of university in 2004. He was doing Sport Science and Nutrition and I was studying Drama and Media Arts. We met through mutual friends that I was studying Drama with and he lived with them, first in halls and then off campus.
He is originally from Cambridge, but he stayed in London after uni to be nearer to me.
After being together for 10 years, we got married in 2015 and had our daughter, Alana in 2017. We’ve now been together for over 15 years.
Amy and James
I met my husband almost ten years ago at St Mary’s. We were in the same class for one of our very first modules of our undergraduate degrees, although it wasn’t until the end of our third year that we got together. It was in our third year that we both seemed to live in the Media Arts rooms (final deadlines and dissertations will do that to you) and we became good friends over late-night pizzas and a fair few panics about losing work we thought we hadn’t saved.
Our classmates and friends would comment that we would make a good couple and once we had almost completed our degrees, we proved them right - there were a lot of ‘I told you so’s at our wedding!
Seven years later, we have been happily married for two years and are expecting our first child. I have such fond memories of St Mary’s for many reasons, but meeting the love of my life is certainly the best of them all.
Damien and Emma
I met my wife Emma (then Emma Hill) at St Mary's when we were both students sometime around 2004-2005. We became friends whilst at uni but nothing more. After we both graduated, I got a job lecturing in the Media Arts department whilst she got a job as a Primary teacher in a local school. We stayed in touch through mutual friends but that was about all. Then in 2009, Emma returned to St Mary's to complete her Masters and we literally bumped into each other again on campus. We both attended the Strawberry Hill Music & Fun day on June 21st 2009 and decided to go on a date. We then went on a fair few more dates, got engaged in August 2010 and decided to get married at St Mary's. After all, it was where we had both met and decided to go out together. We were married in the chapel on July 29th 2011 and have been happily married since then, we also now have a daughter called Charlotte who will be three in March and, naturally, we decided to have her baptised in the chapel. It's been a wonderful 15 years and we can only assume that St Mary's is going to feature on lots more memories going forwards.
Karl and Mary
1981 brought Karl McCloskey and Mary O’Donnell to St Mary’s. Eyes met and conversations exchanged in RE Lectures with the late Fr. Michael Prior. The opening line was “I like your Aran sweater” only to have my Derry pronunciation of Aran corrected by Mary’s more authentically Inis Mor pronunciation. This difference of opinion did not stand in the way of true love. Thirty nine years later with 34 years of happily married life, four children and a grandson later, 3 of whom followed in their footsteps to go to St Mary’s it is safe to say #SIMMSLove equals true love!
Peter and Jo
Jo started at SIMMS in 1967 studying Maths & Drama. I started in 1968, initially studying P.E. and French. Fairly quickly the French didn’t work out, so I switched to Maths. No! that’s not how we met. When Maths didn’t work out either and having given the Drama HoD, Roger Lane, a bit of a sob-story he allowed me to switch to Drama! All this in my first term.
I did not know Jo at this time, only as an image gliding round the campus with 3 close, and equally attractive, friends (Pat Weaver, Renata Wylezol(sp?) and Trish Campbell).
When Jo had the ‘lead’ in her final production, ‘Suddenly Last Summer’, in the autumn of 1969, I, as a 2nd Year, was involved backstage. My role was doing the Sound Effects. Any links with Jo then were tenuous to say the least. However, at the Drama Club Dinner the following summer Jo and I were on the same table, so we did get to chat. When the meal arrived it transpired that Jo, at the time, was not a meat eater and I, at the time, was not keen on mushrooms, so we swapped – beef for mushrooms. (I have to say that I now really like mushrooms!) So, we chatted a bit more and danced a bit. It transpired that she had recently ended a relationship with a rather arty, long-haired, ‘Scott Walker look-a-like’. I was unattached*(see below).
I have to put in here that before SIMMS I played rugby for Richmond and this continued into my College years. As it happened I had 2 tickets for the Richmond Summer Ball next week-end. I had asked a friend who had recently broken up with her boy-friend, also a close friend, if she would like to go, with no romantic intentions whatsoever. However, she said that they had just got back together which was lovely, but left me with a spare ticket for the Richmond Ball.
In the course of the evening I started by asking Jo if she had a ball-gown. She was a little affronted saying ‘Yes! Several!’ It turned out, in fact, that she only had one – but that was enough. I asked her if she would like to come to the Ball the following Saturday, to which she agreed. We thought we ought to get to know each other a bit better, so we planned to go for a drink the following Tuesday. I duly went to pick her up at her flat in Twickenham and while waiting for Jo to get ready the doorbell went and it was her former boy-friend. She told him we were going for a drink, so he said he would come along with us, which he did(!), although he had the grace to leave the pub a bit before we did.
Jo was doing her ‘finals’, so although we saw a bit of each other over the following weeks, it had to be rationalised. Another factor at the time is that I was the BUNAC (British Universities North American Club) Rep. in College and had spent my first summer holiday working and travelling in the States, and was due to go again at the end of Year 2. There is yet another twist there*, but too complicated to go into now. So, while I went off to the States for the summer vacation, Jo went home to Cardiff and prepared for her first teaching job back in West Drayton. We maintained contact throughout the summer and when I returned for my final year we continued our relationship, thank goodness!
That autumn (1970) we became really close and on New Year’s Eve at a party at a small private school in Norfolk (yet another story!) I proposed to Jo and she accepted.
Because of my links to the States - and Jo was not enjoying her job - we talked about going there for a year. I knew of a loop-hole in the immigration system whereby we could work for a foreign government and get a legal visa. I was also keen to explore the possibility of studying for a Master’s there, which did not work out. So we set things in motion. However, this was not a time when young couples ‘lived together’ and we felt our parents would be unhappy about us going off together. The only thing to do was to get married a bit sooner than we had planned. The College was most helpful and we were married in the College Chapel on the 26th June 1971, having our reception in the ‘Waldy’ Ballroom.
Now, as we approach 49 years – and next year 50! – we are wondering if we might be able to celebrate back at Strawberry Hill?
Terry and Michael
My name is Terry Hooper, and although the young women I met, and were friends with, were certainly among the most "loveable" I have ever met, I "only" met my best friend at Simms, Michael Moore, on the first evening of my three extraordinary years (1967-70), there. I still see him, albeit seldom as we live over a thousand miles apart...He in North Wales and me, in the south of France...We still speak of those three years , that were to change our lives forever, and certainly opened up opportunities and horizons we had never imagined existed…
There are very many friends I had whilst at Simms, and now that "Friends Reunited" no longer exists, I have no idea what could help me find them again... Perhaps you are aware of some way.... Any suggestions would be very welcome...
Caroline and ?
Me and my husband met in the first year at simmies both doing Drama. I graduated in 2002 and he in 2003. We got together after we left and got married in 2008. We now have 2 girls (who are both equally as dramatic as us).