UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 07 SEPTEMBER 2021
Whilst most people leave university with a degree, new friends and more independence, a lucky few can find their soulmate on campus too.
Research conducted by Accommodation For Students found that 23% of UK couples got together whilst at university, with 32% of graduates going on to marry their university partner.
We caught up with a group of couples who were lucky enough to find their other halves right here at BCU.
DANIELLE AND STEPHEN
Danielle: “I started studying BA (Hons) Primary Education QTS in 2002. Stephen had started at BCU a couple of years before me to complete a HND before deciding to study the Business Management course. We met at the University’s Christmas Ball at Aston Villa football ground in 2003 and we made things official a few months after meeting.
Danielle and Stephen whilst studying at BCU.
“I graduated in 2006, and Stephen stayed on at the university to manage the BCU football team. I never thought I would meet my soulmate at university, especially at the age of 19. Stephen was super popular. He was captain of football teams, ran for student union president and I was so proud that he was mine!
“Stephen said within weeks he knew that I would be his wife. I just knew after months of the butterflies not disappearing after each time I saw him. He made me wait 11 years until he popped the question, but we finally got engaged in 2014 at BCU, at the old Perry Barr campus. We walked by the library and were reminiscing on the old days, and Stephen got down on one knee. We then headed to the Hare of the Dog for a pint.
Danielle and Stephen on their wedding day in 2015.
“We got married a year later in my home town of Rugby. The venue, Dunchurch Park, was a childhood dream of mine. Walking down the aisle and actually saying I do was the best moment for me. Seeing all of our friends and family together celebrating us was amazing and there were lots of other BCU grads there with us too.
“Nowadays, I work at Walkwood Middle School in Redditch as the Assistant Principal, and Stephen is currently Head of Bid Management at Novus Property Solutions. We have both helped each other a lot. Stephen has managed to open his own business and I have reached a senior level in teaching. We have believed in ourselves and achieved so much together, both personally and professionally.
Danielle and Stephen pictured with their sons.
“We are still as in love as we were at university, and now we’re raising a family with our two young boys, Charlie who is five and Henry who is nearly two years old. Our biggest achievement is definitely going from the crazy going out all the time couple to parents, while we still appreciate each other at the same time.”
INESSE AND CLIFFORD
"Me and Inesse met at BCU in March 2016. We had both started at university just two months before, I was studying Mental Health Nursing and Inesse was studying Adult Nursing. We were talking during a joint lecture and realised that we both understood each other’s language. We are both from Cameroon. Inesse is from the French speaking part of Cameroon, and I’m from the English speaking part. I never expected to meet my soulmate at university, but we made it official a few months after meeting and we’ve been together ever since. We are the perfect match.
Clifford and Inesse during their time at BCU.
"We had a wonderful time together at university. There was never a dark moment, we helped each other and shared ideas together. It was like finding my best friend. Having spent so much time together whilst at BCU, as we were approaching graduation, I knew I had to spend the rest of my life with her.
"On her birthday in March 2019, I gathered around 20 classmates from BCU at Marco Pierre White’s in Birmingham. During the meal, I proposed. We got married on the 25th September 2021 at Birmingham Register Office followed by a reception of over 200 guests. The best moment of the day was when I made my speech, and referred to her as my wife for the very first time. The fellow BCU graduates who celebrated our engagement with us were also there on our wedding day.
Clifford and Inesse on their wedding day in September 2021.
"We both now work for the NHS. I’m a Deputy Ward Manager at Mary Seacole House in Winson Green, and Inesse works at the City Hospital in Birmingham as a Staff Nurse. We are really proud about the experience we have gained since university, and we always try to be as supportive of each other as possible. My ambition is to complete a prescribing course and become a manager, and Inesse hopes to become a Health Visitor.
Clifford and Inesse with their son Ethan.
"But since BCU, we are most proud of becoming parents to our baby boy. Our son, Ethan, was born on 11th July 2020, and baby number two is due to arrive on 1st January 2022. We have always aimed to communicate well, have an understanding towards each other and spend time together too. But our most common goal is the love we share for family, and we can’t wait for our future together."
CLARE AND ROB
Rob: “I studied BA (Hons) Economics from 1987 until 1991, and Clare studied BA (Hons) Business Studies from 1988 until 1992. We vaguely knew of each other through mutual friends. We first spoke to each other in the Crowbar, which was the student union bar on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston, on 19 October 1990. We then went on our first date at The Duck on Hagley Road. We’ve now been together for 31 years!
"It was great meeting at university, when you're young, free of responsibilities and both skint! Neither of us really expected to meet our future partner at university, but I knew that Clare was the one for me when I realised that she had the same music taste as me. We still go to concerts together now.
Clare and Rob on their wedding day in 1999.
"We got engaged at Burgh Island, Devon, while on holiday in 1997. I did the whole traditional thing of asking Clare's dad in advance. Luckily, he agreed, and I proposed on one knee. We got married in March 1999 at Boarhunt Church in Hampshire, followed by a reception at Port Solent Yacht Club.
"There were several other BCU graduates there from both mine and Clare's friendship groups. I went onto work at BCU in the Finance Department for a year, so there were also several friends who worked at the university at the wedding too. One of the best things about the day was having the DJ playing all our favourite music, which was mostly indie music from the late 80s and 90s, a lot of which we had spent our student days dancing to in various clubs around Birmingham.
"Nowadays, I am Finance Director for The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust, which is a charity that supports current and former members of the Royal Navy and their families. Clare is a Careers Advisor at Oasis Academy Sholing, a secondary school in Southampton.
Clare and Rob pictured recently.
"In the time we have been together, I’m most proud of when we spent two years living and working in St Helena, which is a remote island in the South Atlantic, from 2008 until 2010 with our two young children. It was an amazing opportunity for the four of us and we had a great experience settling into the local community.
"We have always encouraged each other in our careers, as well as in our own interests and worked together to try and be the best parents we can to our children too. Clare is the most caring person I know and she makes me laugh a lot. Clare just says that I’m much better at managing money now than when I was as a student.”
JESSICA AND ROBIN
Jessica: “I studied Fashion Design at BCU and Robin did Illustration, so although we both chose creative courses, we probably would never have met during university if it wasn’t for us being placed into the same flat in Jennens Court in our first year. We made it official shortly after we realised that there was something between us, and we were together for the duration of our time at BCU.
“However, at the end of university in 2012, we decided to break up. I was moving down to London for an internship at London Fashion Week and we never spoke again. That was until late 2014, when I bumped into Robin’s brother several times in the same month. I thought it was really odd, so decided to message Robin about it. He’d recently moved down to London too, so we decided to meet for a drink. We’ve been together again ever since.
“Having that break was really good for us and gave us chance to grow as individuals. Robin went to China for a year to teach, and then decided to become a teacher back in the UK and I was able to focus on my career and life in London. I don't normally believe in fate, but I definitely feel like something must have happened, because the chances of seeing his brother so many times in a city as big as London are very slim, so it must have been meant to be.
Jessica and Robin on their wedding day in 2021.
“We're both very different people. He’s very determined and has a get up and go attitude, I’m much more relaxed and chilled, so we complement each other well. Robin is also very positive and encourages me to do new things. We’re both taking part in the Hackney Half Marathon soon, it’s something I would never do but he pumps me up. We are both very patient people though, so we work together well.”
“After working in the fashion industry for several years, nowadays I work as an Optimisation Executive at Channel 4 and Robin is a Primary School Teacher. In 2020, we both turned 30 and we were going to get engaged at his parents’ house at a big family party. However, lockdown happened. He cooked a meal for my birthday at home and invited me into our dining room for drinks beforehand. I walked in, and he was on one knee. I thought he was joking!
“We then got planning the wedding, and we were so lucky to have the best day in July 2021, not long after the restrictions on weddings were lifted. We got married at Robin’s family home in Hertfordshire. His dad did the ceremony for us and we had a huge tepee in the garden, and everyone danced to Sweet Caroline. It was an amazing day, so relaxed and after the last 18 months, our 120 guests had the best time.”
“We’re both looking forward to the future. We moved into our first flat a couple of years ago and we’re doing lots of work to it and we’d love to start trying for a family of our own by the end of the year too.”
Did you meet your partner at BCU? We would love to hear your story. Email us today: Alumni@bcu.ac.uk