Keele Kouples over the Decades

Keele is well known for generating lifelong friendships - it also has a reputation for creating lifelong partnerships too.

A Keele Kouple is one where both partners of a lifelong partnership or marriage are both Keele alumni. In 2015, we asked for stories across all the decades and selected seven to post on facebook in December 2015 and January 2016 - the ones with photos below....

There were so many other great stories, we decided to publish more here with a huge thank you to all Keele Kouples who sent in their stories.  It's astonishing how often Hawthorns, the Union, Freshers' Week, Keele Hall woods and lakes and the Chapel appear - and how many partnerships were formed within the first year, the first week or even on the first day!

Thank you Kiran Aujla (2016) for compiling these stories.

Six Stories used for Facebook (December 2015-January 2016)

Brian and Anna Brian Betts (1961) and Anna Thomas (1966)

How we Met? We met in 1962 when Anna came to Keele from Kerala in South India, to study for a PhD in Physics. We worked in the same research lab. Anna's anticipated three-year stay in the UK got to be rather extended!

Did we marry? We married in Keele University Chapel on 23rd July 1966, in an Anglican service conducted by a priest who was a former missionary in India who knew Anna's family. Technically it was a civil ceremony as it was observed by a local Registrar who got us to sign her forms after the religious service. We believe this was the first wedding to be conducted in the Chapel. The wedding reception afterwards was held in Keele Hall.

Favourite Memory? We always appreciated the real friendship from all student colleagues and staff. The grounds were always a pleasure to experience - particularly the walks around the lakes and through the woods.

Jill and Tony Jill Garnett(1963) and Tony Budd (1963)

How we Met?: We met on the first Saturday of our Fresher Year (10/10/1959) on the college bus going into Newcastle. Jill was with her room-mate Cynthia Sing, and I came up with the great chat-up line "Do you know what time the next bus goes back?" Neither of them did, so I asked around when we got to Newcastle and then went to find them and tell them. We went back on the bus together and I made the stupid mistake of asking the two of them if they'd like to go to the Freshers' Hop that night. Cynth accepted, but Jill said she didn't want to play gooseberry. So Cynth and I went and had a good time. The next day (I think) Cynth got a message from the medical department to say the tests they'd done on arrival showed that she had TB, so she was immediately whisked off to hospital in Stoke. Jill and I then went to visit her before she was transferred to a hospital nearer her home in Manchester. So basically I got a reprieve from my initial error, and Jill and I quickly became soul mates. Cynth and her Keele Kouple husband Eric Deeson are still good friends of ours. By half-term Jill and I had agreed that we'd get married when we graduated, and when Jill's Mum came to see her at Keele before Christmas another girl in our year, seeing Jill and her Mum in the refectory queue ahead of us said, jokingly "Future mother-in-law?", to which I replied (to her amazement) "Yes".  Jill's parents were very good to me, and I stayed with them several times during the vacs, even when Jill was in France for her course. We got formally engaged for the Common Ball in 1962."

Did we marry? "We were married by Jill's father, a Congregational minister, at his church in Bradford on 27th July 1963, just 4 weeks after graduating. Our twin children, James and Deborah, were born on 30th November 1965.

Favourite Memory? "We both did Russian Subsid, which was great being together in class again as we had been in the FY morning lectures. We just loved the campus, and walking down through the fields to watch the M6 being built (and on one occasion walking back along the carriageway before the road opened!) Our most favourite memories as a couple we won't mention in case we get retrospectively sent down!"

David and Patsy David Frost (1974) and Patsy (Anderson (1974)

How we Met? We met December 1970 playing rugby. David had been roped in to train a ladies' 7-a-side team to take part in the competition for a barrel of beer.

Did we marry? We really became life partners at Keele in 1971, but we married in Croydon in 1975. Patsy and I celebrated our Ruby Wedding with a visit to Keele, bringing along our two sons, their wives and our first granddaughter.

Favourite Memory? Keele Silly Sports Day which we organised on behalf of 1973 Finalists as part of 'Final Fling'. We had about 200 participants in the 'Open Mile' including Professor David Ingram in his suit and many staff and their children.

Leanne and Ross Leanne Clark (2001) and Ross Lemmings (2000)

How we Met? We have a Keele 'bubble'; a love story within an incredible friendship circle that has endured all life can throw at us over almost 18 years. I met Ross through the Karate club-having become close to a group of people (more on them later!) within the club through training (and having fun). I distinctly remember watching him one evening, whilst we were all having drinks and chatting, sharing our stories, thinking...'I want to get to know him'...  Through mutual friends we were introduced and before I knew it, Ross and I were attending the AU Ball together. I can't remember life without him now. We became engaged in my last year at Keele (I remember, like yesterday, sitting an exam, whilst turning the ring around and around on my finger; feeling ALIVE, feeling like I could achieve anything, knowing that these were the most incredible days of my life...) which, beyond my dreams, became so much more-with a wonderful marriage and four children almost 18 years on; I, we, have never looked back...but what makes our story different? Within that circle of friends at Keele, another couple met and married-Phillip Liu and Ruth Liu (nee Langley). Together, all of us, we have Keele. We found love, life and our futures, together at Keele. (Phil and Ruth also married and went on to have 3 children, matching our first three in ages-they consider themselves all cousins). We consider each other and each other's children, family-our Keele family. Our extended Keele circle, whom we met through Karate-Sunil Agalgatti, Michael Turnham, Nicholas Gardner and Ben Pritchard, have, over the years, lived together, been best men for one another, experienced pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood and loss together; they are the first people we turn to, the friendship and family we define ourselves by. No matter where we are in the world (Nick has lived in Japan since graduating), or what we are doing, we have spent every New Year together since leaving Keele (when Nick can't join us we Skype him at an ungodly hour!) -seeing each New Year in with the people that mean the world to us. Looking back at photos of us all at Keele and then stretching across all those years-seeing how we and our families have grown...is simply beautiful. I can never thank Keele enough for what it has given me; along with a wonderful career before my children came along, it gave me my life...the best friend, husband and father I could have ever have wished for; it gave me my children. It gave me the strongest of friendships, the type that hold you together through good and bad...Keele truly gave us a beautiful love story, and the very best of what life has to offer.

Did we marry? We married in 2003, in North Wales, where my family come from (in the very church my parents were married in).

Favourite Memory? There are so many-seeing Ross for the first time, our first 'proper' date, talking the night away at the Union, cheesy chips, the rose he gave me (which would have meant so much more if the other boys hadn't appeared 5 seconds later, all holding roses he he), our engagement, but mostly...long walks back to Hawthorns, on pale gold summer nights or freezing in the snow...just the two of us, talking, laughing, falling in love.

Susan and matthew Susan Pettman (2004) and Matthew Miller (2005)

How we Met? We met in the kitchen of A Black Hawthorn and became good friends immediately. We didn't start going out for a yeah and a half that though. Matt changed his subject after his 2nd year and had to do an extra year so I went home to my parents in the south coast for a year. We carried on a long distance relationship with me visiting at weekends when possible. When Matt graduated he got a job in IC2 and we rented a house in Stoke. I then also got a job for the same company in IC2 so we managed to still stay in Keele in some way until we both finished working there in 2008. After renting in Stoke we bought our first house in Newcastle and now live between Crewe and Nantwich, still only about 10 miles from Keele.

Did we marry? We got married on 28th July 2007 and have 2 children.

Favourite memory? Seeing Chesney Hawkes performing 'the one and only' in the Union. Not sure which time as he seemed to be there at every event! Unsurprisingly for the daughter of two Keelites, our 3 year old loved dancing to the song when it was used on an advert a couple of years ago.

Carl and Clare Carl Green (2010) and Clare Plows (2010)

How we Met? We met in our second year of University in Lindsay Court. We were living on the same corridor and we met while moving in. One of the first conversations we had was at 4am during a fire alarm where neither of us were looking our best! Carl slowly won me over by making breakfast for us both each morning! We also both joined the Dance Sport Society and started dancing together, socially and in competitions. Things progressed from there and we were in a relationship by December. We lived together for the rest of our time at Keele in Lindsay Court and after graduating moved in together in London. Keele has always been an extremely important place for both of us.

Did we marry? We are currently engaged and due to be married on 30th July 2016. As Keele has so much meaning for us we are getting married in Keele Chapel and having our reception on Keele Hall. We could not think of a more perfect location!

Favourite Memory? Our Graduation Ball in 2010 was a huge highlight for us! As Keele has had such an impact on our lives as a couple and as individuals, it became an extremely emotional but amazingly uplifting night that we still enjoying reminiscing about today! We have a wide range of friends that we celebrated with that night, with whom we can't wait to celebrate with back again at Keele for our own wedding!

Victoria and Ryan Victoria Massey (2013) and Ryan Zeitz (2013)

How we Met? We met when I was on my study abroad year at The University of Southern Mississippi in 2011-2012, and then Ryan came to Keele to study abroad for 2012-2013!

Did we marry? We got married on 24th May 2015, and live in New Jersey, USA.

Favourite Memory? Hosting our radio show on KUBE and getting to interview some awesome bands at shows and getting in to shows for free because of it!

Harry Heaney (1954) and Margaret Rogers (1954) Founding Graduates

How we met? We met on May 30th 1950 but did not speak to each other. We met again in mid October 1950. After graduation in 1954 Margaret taught maths in Manchester. Harry researched at Keele and Manchester for his PhD 1957 and they were married in June one month before the graduation ceremony.

Did we marry? Marriage in Tyldesley, Lancashire June 1957.

Favourite memory? The whole atmosphere and especially meeting Lord Lindsay and other staff members who became lifelong friends.

Frederick G Thomas (1958) and Sheila Rhodes (1958) Pioneer Graduates

How we met? Frederick arrived at Keele in 1951, and met Sheila at the Fresher's Hop on her arrival in 1952.

Did we marry? We were married on July 26th 1958 in Bradford Cathedral, where Sheila's brother was Organist.

Favourite memory? The Foundation Year taken one year apart was a continuing source of topics for discussion through Sheila's first year in the beautiful inspiring campus.

John Alcock (1960) and Barbara Swabey (1960) Pioneer Graduates

How we Met? We teamed up in our second year at Keele. No special story. Like many others we learned how to be compatible during the stress times of exams etc as well as enjoying the social companionship that living at Keele could always offer. A basis that has seen us through half a century and more of joy and despair, triumph and tragedy and two further generations (children and grandchildren) of love. Never was the 'Foundation Year' better named

Did we marry? After graduation we both became teachers: John in Cheltenham; Barbara in Derby. We married in Birmingham and brought up our family in Cheltenham and Wootton Wawen. We both pursued academic careers: John at Warwick University and Barbara as Deputy Head in Wootton Wawen Primary School.

Favourite memory?  Our first date: at a piano recital by Nina Milkina in the Conference Hall. Barbara being received into the Catholic Church by Fr John Tolkien (son of JRR Tolkien) in the old Nissen hut chapel. And, equally, our recent Golden Graduates'  re-graduation' in 2012. Only Keele could come up with such a moving invention.

Roger Allen (1963) and Madeleine Allen (1965)

We met on my first week. Roger was in Year P2 - and although it was not love at first sight, not on my side anyway, Roger is extremely stubborn and persisted and here we are, having been happily  married for nearly 52 years.  One of our daughters, Rosalind Allen 91990), also went to Keele so the whole family has very happy memories.

Richard (Dick) Barton (1964) and Jane Twigger (1968)

How we met? In the summer of 1965 I was at a concert at the Victoria Theatre and found myself sitting next to a very attractive First Year student. The following October I went back to Keele to see an old girlfriend and bumped into that same student, Jane, on her way to have coffee with that same friend. We were engaged within a few weeks.

Did we marry? We got married at the Keele Chapel on Saturday 10th September 1964- I think Jane was the first student to get married in the Chapel. We are still together 49 years later

Favourite memory? A first kiss outside the Chapel after meeting up at the Keele Folk Song Club evening and later proposing down by the Keele lakes.

Chris Blyth (1968) and Moira Savage (1968)

How we Met? We met in the refectory on the day we arrived and became an item thereafter - but only for the first term. However, having the same group of friends we didn't lose touch and at the beginning of P1 recognised that our earlier attempts to "play the field" were futile. We have been together through thick and thin ever since.

Did we marry? Married in Douglas, Isle of Man in 1969

Favourite memory? This varies - some of it unrepeatable - but we are able to agree that a weekend driving a totally clapped out Hillman van from Keele to Scotland and back with two friends is unforgettable. The catering officer - whose name I have forgotten - supplied us with camping food in seemingly vast quantities and we "camped". This involved sitting upright in sleeping bags attempting to sleep, waking in the morning with drips of rusty condensation dropping off the roof. The weather was awful but even now, nearly 50 years on, the memory of those 750 miles makes us smile. (There were no problems until returning to a snowy Keele a roundabout interrupted our progress).

Alan Crane (1968) and Barbara Whittington (1968)

How we met? Looking at FY class lists at Keele Hall

Did we marry? St Leonards church, Chesham Bois, Bucks, 08/08/70

Favourite memory? So many! We got engaged in the Sneyd Arms, engagement ring on public display for the first time at Commem Ball, just before we graduated. Still have the dress I made and wore (could probably get one leg in it now....)

John Meager (1968) and Alice Wild (1969)

We met in Hut 41, Room 1, in November 1965. Alice was "cup-tied" for the Christmas Ball (no Prinny Mag that year), but the other bloke told me it was off, first day back in January 1966. Then came the Drama Group film night on the Tuesday, Al and I on the door. Alice turned up to pay with 30 old pennies and 12 halfpennies. Not legal tender, but we didn't care. "Meager's seeing us home," she grumped that night to Alison but I knew the signs. On the Thursday, Mike and I had to perform a delicate operation on Rod  (i.e. a good pummelling) and I invited Alice to watch the Endgame (not Vicky Ewing's production) between Mike and Rod on the frosty grass outside Hut 43. Alice's reaction showed more interest in me than the two pugilists and off we went to the Union. Thenceforward, events followed a familiar Keele pattern, recognisable to all cognisant of its potential for passionate relationships. We married on July 5 1969, four days after Alice's graduation, at Kensington Register Office in Cheniston Gardens - at 10.45 a.m. to allow the reception to end before the Rolling Stones went on stage in Hyde Park!  On January 13, 2016, we celebrated 50 years since the start - the others' punch-up - and we can still feel and recapture that sense of romance with which we started. It keeps us 18 and 19 still.

Anthony Atkin (1970) and Sarah Atkin (1979)

How we met? We met when our two circles of friends got together - not least whilst drinking in the Union Bar and supporting the 5-a-side football league. We were friends for a couple of years but became "an item" at my 21st birthday party in 1977 (in the Lindsay Hex)

Did we marry? We got married at Prudhoe Methodist Church, Northumberland in August 1983. We have a son and a daughter, and now have a beautiful grandson.

Favourite memory? Sharing fish and chips from Tommy Presti's van in the Union car park on a Saturday night

Judith Rice (1971) and John Rice (1971)

How we Met? At a party in the Hexagon, Lindsay January 1968

Did we marry? Sheffield, June 1977

Favourite memory? Walking round Keele lakes and woods, holding hands and talking about the future.

Andy Sheppard (1981) and Ros Neaum (1971)

How we met? We never met when we were both undergraduates but instead we met in Norway in the summer of 1979 after Ros had graduated and I still had two years of study to do at keele. Unknown to one another, we both went to Norway on a trip organised by Keele Chapel, together with about twenty other young people. We were not the only couple who later got married after the trip to Norway. After Ros graduated she lived and worked in Leek and we met up every weekend.

Did we marry? In derby on 6th August 1983 and lots of our Keele friends were there.

Favourite Memory? Meeting in Norway was special and if we had not both been at keele, we would never have met there.

Gill Ellis (1975) and Shaukat Husain (1973)

How we Met? We met through an American friend who was on a year's foreign study at Keele. Shaukat was two years ahead of Gill so if it hadn't been for Paul Leibenson I'm not sure we would have met. Paul and I met at a special weekend Keele run for students from foreign parts. My family background is in Canada and Shaukat's is from Pakistan.

Did we marry? It took us 10 years from when we first got together to tie the knot. First, pursuing postgraduate studies, Shaukat in the USA and Gill in London studying law. Second, my feminist concerns about getting married and Shaukat's parents concerns about me as a non-Pakistani were major obstacles but we won through! We married in London with both families present, from Canada and Pakistan and our wedding function was appropriately at the dining and ballrooms of the Commonwealth Institute.

Favourite memory? The Osibisa concert at the Student Union Building where we had our first and last dance! Criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness as Osibisa used to say!

Paul Stevens (1976) and Judith Barrass (1973)

How we Met? At a party in Hawthorns general block January 1973, it was the birthday of a mutual friend Stephanie Croxton with who we are still in touch from time to time. We both left Keele for many years but both now work here in the Library

Did we marry? We got married on 4th October 1975 in Judith's home town of Leeds. So you can see we just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and are looking forward to a celebratory trip to California. We're going to climb some mountains before we get too old.

Favourite memory? Sliding down the banks behind Keele Hall in the snow on trays "borrowed" from the refectory. And the parties, all those 21st birthdays in particular. And walking down Whitmore Road in the middle of the night to get bacon sandwiches from the Service station Lorry driver side not the public side. Also all the sporting events , Paul was a member of the squash team, the cricket team and the hockey team and got Keele Colours in all of them

John McCartney (1974) and Janet Barnes (1975)

How we Met? Combination of Christian Union and Chemistry Laboratory. In the latter, Janet as a keen beagle owner liked to share the Fred Bassett cartoon in John's newspaper. One special recollection was the day in the laboratory when a demonstrator tried to be helpful to John by pointing a female student in the distance and suggested he "chat her up”. John's reply was that it was a very good idea but he was actually already engaged to her (she was Janet)

Did we marry? December 28th 1974 at the Wesley Methodist Church, Leigh on Sea. We celebrated our 40th anniversary end of last year.

Favourite memory? Graduation transport by red and yellow double decker buses

John Cantelo (1974) and Liz Hagger (1975)

How we Met? One of my friends (Geoff) in Horwood was spied returning to his room with two FY students. Just to spike his guns the rest of us along the corridor organised ourselves to knock on his door at intervals to say "We hear you're making coffee, Geoff?". By the time it was my time there was nowhere to sit other than on the bed next to Liz. We hit it off and over 40 years later are still together...

Did we marry? Liz and I have just celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary having married in August 1975 in Elstree (we've an anniversary plate to prove it!)

Favourite memory? Curved Air playing in the SU and the whole room dancing a Scottish reel together!

Clare Mitton (1976) and Simon Hickie (1977)

How we Met? Through the Roman Catholic chaplaincy. Never a couple at Keele - just good friends! Shared two canal narrowboat holidays with Fr Ken Nugent and fellow students - and former PVC John Sloboda. Two of our three children are also Keele graduates and Fr Ken baptised all three children as part of his 'after sales service'.

Did we marry? Married in 1979, by the aforementioned Father Ken.

Favourite memory? Never a couple at Keele - very much a slow burner!

Julie Potter (1979) and John Dudley (1979)

How we Met? Met serving behind the bar - John in "Old bar" Julie in "New bar”. Did the observer crossword together, April 1978

Did we marry? Moved in at Keele Barnes K47 Oct 1978. Married West Byfleet 1986

Favourite memory? Walking in the gardens around the lakes. Graduating together 3rd July 1979.

Bonita Deane (1980) and David Holland (1980)

How we Met? Dave gate crashed my 19th birthday party in Barnes D block top floor which was three weeks after the start of our first term at Keele.

Did we marry? We moved into a flat shared with Glenn and Lee for Year 2 in Hawthorns and year 3 back up at Barnes. We moved to London together both getting jobs and then married in 1982 when we bought a flat together.

Favourite memory? Spending time down by the lakes in the spring of 1978 when we both knew this was serious. Sharing a flat in Hawthorns, and walking up to campus every day.

Martin Campion (1982) and Janice Ketley (1982)

How we met? In an American Studies seminar in FY.

Did we marry? November 1984.

Favourite memory? The snow, the laughs, the people

Alan Taylor (1982) and Jan Meteyard (1982)

In July 2016 Sam Taylor graduated with First Class Honours in History and Politics from Keele University. He was watched by proud parents Alan and Jan, as he celebrated alongside fellow students. For Sam’s parents, the day was an extra-special occasion - it marked 34 years to the week since they both graduated from Keele. They met in their final year while moving into Barnes Hall, and the rest, as they say, is history. Two years after graduating, the couple got married and Sam was born a few years later.

Helen Moore (1983) and Adrian Hope (1983)

How we met? We met in 1981 in Barnes Hall. Adrian was friend of one of my flat-mates. I was a bit concerned about the large scar on his neck until I realised it was from surgery and not a knife-fight.

Did we marry? In Bedfordshire in 1985. Unfortunately, Adrian died in 1986 from the brain tumour that was diagnosed just before he went to Keele.

Favourite Memory? Adrian’s proposal on the day of graduation outside Barnes Hall – by a large puddle.

Stephen Wright (1983) and Joanna Pickering (1984)

How we met? Jo was serving coffee at the Christian Union and although everybody knew who she was, it was hard to get to know her in any deeper way because she's clever at throwing the conversation ball back into the other court. I found that a challenge I wanted to rise to and after two terms found I knew her a bit better but unexpectedly had fallen in love with her too? She's the same now in that respect.

Did we marry? 21st July 1984 in St Laurence's Church Ludlow

Favourite memory? Walking by the lakes, and walking down the railway line.

Caroline Bollen (1987) and Geoff Walton (1983)

How we Met? Geoff was playing in local bands Boneshaker and Heymaker at Keele and various pubs in the locality. Caroline soon became a groupie then arranged for guitar lessons... One night in Hawthorns rock society disco Geoff turned up but had a broken ankle so Caroline and her friend Damien gave him a lift home so that Caroline could find out a bit more about him! A few years later Damien was to become the drummer in Caroline and Geoff's folk rock band Greensward who have recently reformed.

Did we marry? We married at St Mary's church Bucknall in 1991.

Favourite memory? Geoff's Irish folk band Boneshaker playing the Union on St Patrick’s night mid-1980's and dancing merrily. The evening ended unusually with the area outside the Union being cordoned off by the police and the army were called to blow up a suspicious looking metal box which actually only had electrical bits and tools for the band's equipment!

Karen Ash (1987) and Dominic Coles (1987)

How we Met? We met in the first week during Freshers Week, at a barn dance! We were both at Hawthorns, and within two weeks were an item. Over thirty years later, we're still going strong (with two grown up children)!

Did we marry? 1991, in Brighton (near Karen's family home). So we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary next year.

Favourite memory? Probably walking the lakes at Sneyd Hall, or the bluebell woods near Hawthorns. And of course graduating, receiving our degree certificates from Sir Stanley Matthews (perhaps a little more special for Mr rather than for Mrs Coles).

Hank Williams (1989) and Elizabeth Watson (1988)

How we Met? We met in Horwood O Block, Liz asked Hank to help look for her contact lenses. She doesn't wear contact lenses. After another year in the legendary O Block, they shared a flat in Barnes, where she finally seduced him after two years. Their close friends Simon and Helen Jones (1988) announced that Liz and Hank were engaged at the 1987 ‘Thorns Ball, to the surprise of Hank! Now married for 24 years, and planning a special trip for 2016 to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Did we marry? Liz and Hank moved to Yorkshire in 1989, and were married in 1991 in Barnsley, winning a nation wedding photo award for their portrait with a famous Canon. They lived in Yorkshire for six years before Liz became pregnant with first child Charlie, when Hank moved the family to Hampshire with Charlie born in Winchester. Charlie is in his second year at Keele, having spent his first year in ‘Thorns and has just moved off campus, studying geography like his dad but with maths. Liz is godparent to the Jones’ first born Freya, who also went to Keele graduating in 2014. The Jones and Williams tribes, Liz and Hank also have Herbie (18) and Gabe (16), the Jones' have Sophie, are close friends - almost like family.

Favourite memory? A legendary night at a Thomas Lang concert in the Union. It started as a civilised diner party in Barnes followed by a fantastic concert. Hank and Simon did the wine list, whilst Liz and Helen mingled with beauty and student like sophistication. On the way back to Barnes, Hank decided to carry Liz over his shoulder. Hank picked up Liz, and due to copious wine consumption then fell backwards allowing Liz to have an up close and personal experience of the pavement. Luckily Liz wasn't scarred for life, physically anyway! Hank gets reminded of his inability to act like a fireman on a regular basis, much to everybody's amusement. Due to clearly limited estate budgets, the dent in the pavement is still there today.

Alistair Hindmarsh (1989) and Sally Dobbie (1988)

How we met? I’d failed my exams due to an excess of partying and was walking along a deserted campus on December 16th 1986, waiting to do my re-sits. I was walking along by the bookshop and banks when Sally came walking towards me. I recognised her from a couple of Tolkien Society and Rock Society meetings. We stopped and spoke and it turned out she had also failed her exams and was here for the re-sits too. That night we celebrated in the Golfer’s Arms and have been together ever since. Failing exams is good!

Did we marry? We were married in Keele Chapel in 1993. Bi weird as we sat our exams there, but it meant an awful lot to us.

Favourite Memory? Either having ‘feasts’ in the amphitheatre as art of Tolkien Society or being at Lindsay Battle of the Bands when the band ‘Decomposition’ won - they were all our mates.

Alexandra Healy (1991) and Stephen Johnson (1989)

How we met? We met in 1987 when we were in E Block in ‘Thorns. Got to know each other in October 1988 when we were both on the same floor of E Block. I was looking for some Blu-Tac and Stephen had some. Got together at a toga party in X Block – all very Keele!

Did we marry? Got married 14th October 1995 at Princethorpe College near Rugby, my old school.

Favourite memory? Friday night at the Union. Thursday night at ‘Thorns. The lakes.

Stephen R Palmer (1989) and Suman Kalpanath Singh (1992)

How we Met? Met at the Christian Union freshens week activity in Hawthorns.

Did we marry? 1993 in Newcastle under Lyme and have remained married. Three children

Favourite memory? Snow in 1992 when Keele was cut off and Steve walked up to check I was ok.

Byron Stanway (1994) and Helene Warren (1995)

How we Met? A group of us living mainly living in Harrowby House and met during Freshers’ week in the Lindsay Hall bar. We all stayed friends throughout our time at Keele but the unusual thing was that of that group of 8 of us, 6 of use got married to someone in that group and we are all still together. Matt and Jenny Goulding and Mat and Liz Dutton. It would be a good story about is as a group.

Did we marry? Matt and Jenny Goulding got married first, then Byron and I (in 1999 and it's our 16th wedding anniversary tomorrow!) and then Mat and Liz. We all have two children each.

Favourite memory? The Balls! Going to the fair in Hawthorns all together.

Richard Fryer (1997) and Patricia McGovern (1995)

How we Met? Keele Live Action Society - we were both members - so lots of unusual dressing up with latex swords/water pistols and running round Keele woods

Did we marry? In 1995 (end of Richard's first year) in Keele chapel. Reception in the Union. Photos by Keele Hall.

Favourite memory? Far too many to count - had an absolutely fabulous time at Keele. We can select a recent one – we just took our daughter (who is 17) up for Open Day and recreated some of our wedding day pictures. Our first visit in 18 years was such a happy trip.

Rachel Hughes (1998) and Graham Fayers (1995)

How we Met? I was in my First year and Graham was in his Final Year when we met. We both played musical instruments at the time and kept bumping into each other at Keele Concert Band and Keele Jazz Orchestra rehearsals. Graham says he spotted me from the very first rehearsal in the term, but he didn't ask me out for a couple of months... after I found his umbrella that he'd left behind on the bus back from a concert band competition. To this day he denies he left it there deliberately for me to find it.

Did we marry? We stayed together after Graham graduated and after my graduation three years later we moved in together. We travelled to Australia in 1999 and whilst over that side of the world we got married on the beach in the Cook Islands in February 2001.

Favourite memory? As members of the Keele Jazz Orchestra we were fortunate to be part of the line up at the Spring Ball for all of the years we were there. The Spring Ball was always a special evening in the calendar, with everyone making an effort to get dressed up, but it had an extra special feeling to play a part in the evening.

Charles Dias do Nascimento (2000) and Fiona Loveday (2000)

Did we marry? We married 2012 in Essex.

Gareth White (2002) and Zoe White (2003)

How we Met? We met through mutual friends and through working together at Lindsay Bar- we got to know each other better when Gareth came to retrieve one of his drunken friends who passed out in my friend’s room!

Did we marry? We got married in 2005 in London. We've got two children, Thea aged 10 and Arlo aged 5. We had a big party in Cyprus in May this year to celebrate being married for ten years (as our original wedding was tiny and very low key as we were young and broke!)

Favourite memory? So many, it was such a wonderful time. Nights out in the Union, our two graduation balls; one with Jools Holland and one with a Beatles tribute! Walks around campus late at night. Sport Wednesdays! Sitting outside drinking in the sun by Keele Hall and at the Sneyd arms.

Eleanor Lovell (2003) and Ben Freeman (2006)

How we met? Ben and I didn’t actually know each other during our time at Keele but once we met, we realised our paths almost crossed on a few occasions – Keele being one of them! I joined Keele in 2000. After his A Levels in 2002 Ben decided that rather than go to university he would do a year in industry and worked for a year with National Grid in Coventry (in a building now owned by the University of Warwick) and joined Keele in September 2003. I graduated in June 2003 a few months before Ben joined Keele and I moved back to Birmingham where I took a temporary job as a receptionist at KPMG. Meanwhile, ben was having fun at Keele and during the university holidays he worked in the tax department at KPMG, no doubt walking past the receptionist every day! In 2005 I joined the University of Warwick as a Communications Assistant worked in a building formerly owned by the National Grid – the same building ben had worked in a few years earlier. It wasn’t until 2012 that we finally met – a not so romantic story of a night out in Birmingham involving Mexican wrestling, karaoke and unexpected strippers (don’t ask!) We married in 2014 and have since visited Keele as a couple. Our Keele experiences were quite different but our paths have been surprisingly similar.

Did we marry? We got married on 21st June 2014 at Wootton Park near Stratford-on-Avon.

Favourite Memory? We have visited Keele as a couple with friends and families.

Jill Hanby (2004) and Andrew Penn (2004)

How we Met? We met in the boys’ Block F, in lovely Hawthorns on day two of uni. I was in the all-girls block E next door and obviously the girls and boys didn't want to stay in their own blocks! Andy was sitting on an amp playing his guitar and I was wandering around wearing a cowboy hat (as you do). We got together properly about week 2 of freshers at a friend’s birthday celebration in the Union and never really looked back!

Did we marry? Although we have been together for 14 years now we only got married two years ago! Since Keele we've had many adventures together, including buying a home in Cambridge, Andy completing his PhD there, moving to France for five years where we had our son (and returned home briefly to get wed in 2013) and then moving permanently back to the UK in summer 2015. I’m sure there are many more adventures to come our way!

Favourite memory? There are many - nights at the Union and Union Square with our friends, lazy afternoons together with trips to the harvester near the football ground and growing up together throughout the whole three years at Keele. It will always be an important place for us!

Eve Taylor (2004) and Doug Stanton (2005)

How we met? Doug was known to me and friends as ‘Pizza Hut Boy’. It was love at first sight across the restaurant at the ‘all you can eat buffet’ in town. I was ‘Pink Dreadlock Girl’ who he followed around campus unbeknown to me. One night at the Union I approached him and told him I had seen him around campus – of course, he was stalking me. Later that night a friend of mine invited him back to our house party at Barnes. However, there was no intended house party. I was in my PJs tucked up in bed when I awoke to someone knocking at the door. There he was, swaying slightly with a bit too much Dutch courage consumed… I invited him and after about three hours of listening to my life stories, he left with my number. We had a whirlwind romance from there and about six months later I discovered I was pregnant. I completed my degree and in the November after graduation gave birth to our son, William. Doug still had another rear to go so he juggled university life and trips to Cambridge to visit us. Later he moved to Cambridge to be near us and the rest is history.

Did we marry? We are not married or even partners but we are very good friends and co-parents of the most awesome ten year old boy.

Favourite memory? Most of my memories together are of wild nights out!

Richard Debenham (2004) and Cassie Gough (2006)

How we Met? Initially met in September 2003 when Cassie had only been at Keele for five days and was on a freshers bar crawl organised by Charlotte, a friend from one of my Geography modules. The crawl stopped at Lindsey bar where I was at the time with my oldest friend James, as we decided to move into Holly Cross for our final year and thought it would help with studying, having both lived at home for the previous two years with being local to the area. As I'd not seen Charlotte since the previous Academic year, I decided to join the bar crawl to catch up and swop summer stories and as it progressed there was me, Cassie, Charlotte and Sarah left at the student Union . At closing time when it came to organising how to get back to halls, I discovered Cassie lived in Holly Cross like me, so I offered to walk back with her, whilst Charlotte and Sarah went to Horwood. When we got to Holly Cross we found we lived on separate sides and I suggested to Cassie that she and Sarah should drop by my corridor before we went onto the Union the following night, so they could experience their first Retro Wednesday and the Keele classics of Chesney Hawkes and the Proclaimers! The following night Cassie and Sarah did stop by around 8pm, however as freshers realise in due course, University nights start much later at the Union , so when they came round I was in my dressing gown cooking a chicken curry (as you do!) in the kitchen! Eager to get to the Union they headed off and I agreed to try and catch them later on. When I got to the Union with James a couple of hours later, Cassie and Sarah were on their final walk around before planning to leave, thankfully I bumped into them and there was a spark between me and Cassie that remains today! :-)

Did we marry? We decided to look at wedding venues at the start of last year, having been together for over 10 years at this point and saw that Keele Uni had a wedding fayre early on in January, so thought it would be nice to stop by and get some ideas, plus an opportunity to revisit Keele together needed no excuse for us to attend! Having explored the stalls down in the conference room we progressed up to the Salvin Room where it was setup for a wedding the following day. I suggested we jokily sit at the bride and groom chairs to experience what it could be like, given we were the only party exploring this room and a member of staff saw us at the opposite end and he clinked a glass as if to start a toast as we sat down! We both turned and looked at each other and at that moment we both knew right then that where else but Keele could host our special day! Later on Saturday 18th October last year we held our wedding in the Salvin Room, with the sun coming out just as our wedding car drove us back into the Keele campus not long after we'd got married, with perfect timing for the subsequent photographs. With the autumnal colours of the beautiful trees at Keele, it provided an amazing backdrop to a day of what will always be a very sentimental place held dear to both of us!

Favourite memory? Our wedding day has to be mentioned - however our first year at Keele when we both lived in halls together will always be memorable. The many mini BBQ's and joining other students relaxing, listening to music or watching students playing football or rugby in glorious April/May sunshine by Keele Hall in our own Keele 'bubble', with no cares in the world and no responsibilities was always enjoyable, especially if it led onto a big night at the Union! As was the many walks we took together around the campus and grounds throughout the different seasons in that first year, Keele was always beautiful in snow, summer sun, or with the new colours of spring or of the changing autumn. The very many enjoyable Union events we went to such as the Retro Wednesdays and the big Friday nights, as well as the Skool Disco and other dress up events we participated in! One unforgettable night was a walk down to the Union from Holly Cross together at midnight before the Halloween event the next day, with me testing out an 8-foot Scream outfit, scaring many of the students coming out of the Union that night!

Paul Newton (2005) and Alison Bowyer (2005)

How we met? We met in the first week. Doing the same courses meant we kept bumping into each other, and quickly became friends. We finally started to date in the second year and then practically moved into each other’s rooms in the third year. We married at Keele in 2012 and now have a two year old son.

Did we marry? Keele 2012, where else?

Favourite Memory? Has to be our wedding day in 2012 if that counts. Or if not, the time after our third year exams when he had weeks of not much to do but eat barbecue and party!

Chris Lloyd (2006) and Tess Beniston (2006)

How we met? We met in Year One on Day One in 2003. Chris offered to help Tess with her suitcase – she turned him down. They didn’t meet again until 2nd year when they had a mutual friend. We got together in 2005 and have been together ever since. They moved permanently to Australia in 2008, returning briefly to marry at Keele in 2009. They now have a two year old son who has also made the visit to Keele in 2013. Despite now living on the other side of the world, Keele is where their small family began and it remains an important place.

Did we marry? June 2009 at Keele Hall.

Favourite memory? There are too many! From time in the Union to getting lost in Keele woods on what was meant to be a romantic Sunday walk.

Rebekah Hassall (2006) and James Pugh (2006)

How we Met? I and three female friends were living in Hawthorns A block. James was living in Lindsay court with two friends. Two if these people Vicky and Richard met through a French subsid course and became a couple. The rest of us met through this. Ally and Ady became a couple and finally myself and James. We are all still very good friends, are all married and have children who we hope will also be good friends. Also linked to our story are Katie and Carl who met in this mix and are also married with a child. Our Keele family is still very strong and growing.

Did we marry? Ally and Ady married in august 2010. Vicky and Rick married may 2011 Myself and James married in July 2011.

Favourite memory? I guess our evenings together in our blocks/flats, graduation ball, snow days round the church in the village.

Elise Butler (2007) and Adam Turner (2007)

How we Met? Adam was the very first person that I met at the freshers disco - maybe not love at first sight but close enough

Did we marry? Adam (from Cumbria) stayed locally and we got married in 2011 at the Old Hall at Madeley near Keele with a medieval themed wedding (my dissertation topic was medieval history)

Favourite memory? First ever snow. We volunteered for the active charity society and were walking around in the rain putting up posters around Horwood, and suddenly the rain turned to snow and we spun around in the main courtyard

Dan Reed (2008) and Fiona McIlroy (2007)

How we Met? We met on my first night at Keele at Hawthorns block. Fiona was doing the customary "visiting her first year block", which was now next to my first year block. Apparently I was pretty rude to her on that night and she thought I was "moody", as I had a sullen look with dreadlocks and piercings. We then met again about a week later on the dance floor where we had our first kiss, right before me falling over due to too much Snakebite.

Did we marry? We got married at Keele Hall in 2013. I proposed whilst walking around Keele Lake in 2011 on Fiona's birthday.

Favourite memory? Keele has played such a part in all of our lives. Only last weekend we went back to Keele (we now live in Northampton) just to go for a walk, with our 14 month old boy. Our favourite memory of Keele as a couple is lazy afternoons spent on the lawns of Keele Hall in the summer when exams had finished with our friends. 10 years on and now we're going to our Keele friends' weddings! We've made some amazing lifelong friends through Keele and it holds such a special place in our hearts.

Kerry Poulton (2010) and Andy Boocock (2009)

How we met? We arrived for Freshers in September 2009, both living on the 5th floor of Lindsay hall, two doors apart in fact! Everyone met in the kitchen to find out where we were all from ,what we were studying etc while having a few drinks before heading out for the Icebreakers disco. It was the next day when we all met in Lindsay Bar, with a few heavy heads, when Andy and I got chatting. That’s when we really got to know each other and realised we had so much in common. Everyone on the 5th floor was talking about us! A week later we got together and have been together ever since. We both came to Keele looking for a fresh start, certainly not expecting to meet “the one” on the first day!

Did we marry? We got married at Keele Hall in September 2015. There was no other venue. We would often go for walks around Keele Hall and the woods and we both knew this would be where we would get married. We’ve remained really close friends with a lot of the Lindsay gang so it was amazing to have a reunion on our special day, at this perfect venue.

Favourite Memory? Living in halls, we loved living with our friends and we sometimes wish we could do it all again. The dressing up for Flirt Night at the Union, great fun and always looked so stupid. During exam time we would often go for walks around campus as a couple to de-stress and unwind.

Amie Jones (2010) and Luke Hendry (2010)

How we met? We met when we were 16, did our A Levels together and picked our university together. To our happiness we both got into Keele and we commenced our lives together. We were in the same halls for three years, had an amazing group of friends and had the time of our lives.

Did we marry? We are due to get married in 2016 in Mexico.

Favourite memory? Making snow angels outside our flat at Hawthorns, completely care free and laughing like mad.

Daniel Sayer (2010) and Charlotte Bailey (2010)

How we met? We met at our regular Psychology coffee mornings after our weekly Statistics lecture. Charlotte was a friend of a friend and we clicked instantly. After a few nights out at the Union and (quite a drunk) night at Revolution in Newcastle, I finally plucked up the courage to ask for her number. My exact words were: “Do I have your number?” Her exact reply was: “No, I don’t think you do”, before jumping in a taxi. I didn’t realise Charlotte became very literal in her responses when she got tipsy! Luckily, I didn’t give up.

Did we marry? We married in January 2015 close to Datchet, where we were living at the time. Each of the tables were named after the Halls of residence and naturally the top table was Keele Hall.

Favourite Memory? My now-wife getting quite annoyed and loud after a night out because I had taken a large bite out of her Subway sandwich, even though she had taken that bite and forgotten all about it. The unbitten sandwich was mine, and I ended up giving her that one.

Kari Rittoo (2010) and Aaron Webster (2011

How we met? We both decided to give the Drama Society a go and auditioned for a play in our second year. Aaron says he remembers seeing the beautiful girl in the hat audition and hoped she got the part. I didn’t remember anyone because I was late to the SU for a Rewind night out. We both got the parts, played a couple and on our final night got together for real.

Did we marry? We got married on July 25th 2015 at the Palace Hotel in Manchester in front of lots of Keele friends. My neighbour from first year was my bridesmaid and Aaron’s best from Keele was his best man.

Favourite memory? Midnight picnic at Keele lake.

Kate Lawrence (2011) and Andrew Nicholson (2010)

How we Met? We met at Freshers Fayre in our third year. My stall was next to Andrew's which we all thought was odd as mine was political and Andrew's was the Darts Society. I was an avid darts player prior to starting Keele but in the land of darts I found there was no darts society. On entering the Union with a big box of political stuff I saw Andrew and decided rather than walking straight to my table the sensible way I would walk behind him to ensure I had the seat next to him. I was the first person to sign up to darts and was in trouble with my committee for 'flirting with the darts man'. This being a nickname I still call him as well as the committee and some other close friends. Often shortened to DM in texts and cards. Turns out however that Andrew was completely hungover and doesn't really remember meeting me. Thankfully there is photographic evidence! Multiple ‘failed to connect’ moments ensued, Ed). Andrew had gone to darts one night as he played for a pub in Stoke and he'd taken a friend as there might have been someone famous playing that night and explained what had happened. His friend them had to spell out to him that I actually did like him so he text me again. At first I wasn't going to reply but that lasted all of about 10 minutes. When I got back to the flat the heating has broken. Not uncommon I realise but it was November and freezing. Andrew offered to come and keep me warm to which I agreed. And that as they say was that. He never left the flat. Had his dinner cooked for him and I'm sure he only left to play darts or watch rugby!

Did we marry? We were married in 2013 at Rosall School in Fleetwood which was where Andrew went before Keele. One of my bridesmaids was from Keele and three ushers and one of the best men were also from Keele as well as numerous guests from Keele.

Favourite memory? Nights in the flat. The Union. The KPA. The darts tournament away we played singing to Total Eclipse of the Heart on the minibus. Sitting outside Keele Hall eating ice lollies. Pinpointing one moment would be impossible!

Jessica Cassell (2013) and Stuart Ball (2012)

How we met? We met at Keele on our first day as we were to live in the same block in Hawthorns. We didn’t get together until May of our first year but have been together ever since. We both completed our degrees while looking after our eldest son born in July 2011 and we have just had our second son.

Did we marry? Not yet but we would love to get married in or around Keele as it would bring back a lot of memories.

Favourite memory? Endless summer days sitting on Keele Hall lawn with the rest of Hawthorns I Block, drinking cider and cooking sausages on a disposable barbecue.

Charlotte Allen 2011) and Shaun Dooley (2011)

How we met? We were in the same block and so we met on the first day. We went as a group of 20-odd in Freshers’ Week in 2008 to see Coolio, but out of the group only Shaun and I wanted to go to the front. We started talking and spent the rest of the night together, hoping that Coolio would sing the theme from Kenan and Kel. We spent the whole night talking about what we would name our children (in a joking way) and got engaged on facebook (it was a very trendy thing to do in 2008). We had our first kiss a few days later on High School Musical Night, and we have been together ever since. In 2014, Shaun proposed to me seconds from where we first met in the woods by the lake, when we returned for Homecoming, which was lovely.

Did we marry? We are getting married in London in August 2016.

Favourite Memory? So many memories! My favourite is probably when we performed at Keele’s Got Talent, and everyone came up to us afterwards and said they didn’t realise I was going out with ‘Select and Save Boy” as Shaun worked there for three years of uni.

Lauren (2013) and Mike (2013)

How we met? The Icebreaker Ball in our first year

Favourite memory? Eating pizza outside Keele Hall.

Not quite a Keele Kouple

My wife and I are not quite a Keele Kouple, but we did meet in the Students Union, and it was 50 years ago this very evening. It was at the STAAC Hop – I believe that stood for Stoke on Trent Area Academic Committee. Coach-loads of unattached young ladies were attracted to the event from nearby colleges, including my wife-to-be in a coach from Crewe College of Education. I had been among the first students to move into newly-built Lindsay D Block the year before. The guy in the room to my left also married a girl from Crewe College, the guy in the room to my right did, the guy at the end of our corridor did, and the guy in the room under mine married a girl from Alsager College of Ed. I’m sure there were a lot more than us who found lifelong partners at local colleges of education while we were at Keele. My wife wanted to teach children rather than milk cows at 5 in the morning, which ruled out the young men of Reaseheath and Harper Adams agricultural colleges, so Keele it had to be. Personally, I think it was the scarf she was after, because she insisted on swapping later that term, and I finished up with her dreadful blue and yellow thing. I’ve told her I only married her to get my hands back on my black, yellow and red scarf. Her Certificate in Education was issued by the University Of Keele Institute of Education on behalf of Crewe and is as grand as - and perhaps grander than - the document Princess Margaret handed me when I graduated. Our daughter and her husband are a pukka Keele Kouple, who met when they were both in residence at the Hawthorns. Tomorrow, they tell us, marks the 0th anniversary of their first date. So, this is quite a significant 48 hours for our family. Ian cameron (1967)

And Keele Kouples can also lead to Keele Dynasties

"I met my husband when we were both students at Keele. We graduated in 1984. I was Stephanie Upton and he, Ian Checkland (1984). My husband's mother and father, Cynthia Checkland (Kirkham) (1956), a Stoke woman and Donald Checkland (1957), also met when they were students at Keele in the 1950's. They graduated and then married! But also, my father Peter Upton (1955) graduated from Keele in the 1950's (a Stoke man).  Peter, Donald and Cynthia were at Keele at the same time in the 50's, and they met and knew each other from their Students' Union bar days! They only met up again in the early 1980's when their children - my husband and I - became Keele students. We had our photo taken for the Keele Society News Magazine, as second generation students, around 1981. Of course we were not married then. We also had a photo taken for the local newspaper, 'The Sentinel' with our parents, on our graduation day, 1984, as second generation students. Our own children have not gone to Keele... which is a big regret of mine, but I hope one day to have grandchildren who may! You see, my husband and I owe our lives to Keele... literally." Stephanie Checkland (Upton) (1984)

"My mum was a Keelite, her name was Tracey Maxwell (Goddard) (1986) and she married my Dad who was a Keelite, his name is Keith Maxwell (1984). My Mum's brother, my first uncle is called Trevor Goddard (1981). My mum's other brother, my second uncle, who died in November 2015 was called Malcolm Goddard (1984). My uncle Trevor married someone from Keele, my first aunt by marriage - Sue Goddard (Treanor) (1981). My uncle Malcolm married someone at Keele, my second aunt by marriage - Carole Goddard (Klemenic) (1984). My first uncle and first aunt had three children of whom two came to Keele and their names are Benjamin Goddard (who did not graduate) and Joseph Goddard (2010). Joe is engaged to a Keelite - Camilla Horner (who also did not graduate). I am engaged to a Keelite, Joshua Davies (2011). When my Nan came to move me into university, she had been visiting Keele for nearly 30 years. It is a very special place for her." Sophie Maxwell (2013)

 

 

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